Text description provided by the architects. Carvolth Integrated Open Space represents a seamless combination of form and function, whereby stormwater management strategies are integrated with public recreational and educational programming into a 1.60-hectare linear green space. Carvolth IOS is comprised of three distinct landscape types, with a series of connected stormwater features reflecting the transition from more natural land to a public park to an urban plaza. Throughout these three landscape types, the common thread of water is ever present. Aesthetically, bold forms such as the water droplet reinforce the concept while delineating spaces and providing seating, retaining, and other functions. Visual art has been included with details that again reinforce the water concept, while subtle colors are used to complement the protected views of Golden Ears Mountain beyond. Many aspects of water have been incorporated into the design, from its visual representation in form, color, and pattern, to the inclusion of water itself in swales, water features, and water play, to more subtle auditory connections where the design allows for the sounds of water to be heard in those instances where it travels beneath pavers.
Functionally, Carvolth IOS acts as a public stormwater amenity, receiving stormwater runoff from the surrounding 6.3-hectare mixed-use site, slowing it down, and cleaning it before it is released into Latimer Creek and the Serpentine River. The visible integration of this stormwater function within a well-programmed public landscape is a significant achievement that elevates the awareness of how landscapes can be designed with stormwater in mind at the neighborhood park scale.
PMG was responsible for leading all aspects of the design of this open space. What started as a purely aesthetic concept featuring water as a central theme sparked inspiration among the stakeholders, who saw its potential as more than just a neighborhood park. Informed by the concept of water, the space was reimagined as a functional stormwater amenity, in park form.
The realization of this successful public space was achieved through a strong collaboration with developers, the Township of Langley, and PMG as the prime consultant, bridging the divide. As landscape architects leading the design, PMG was able to leverage the understanding of developer’s needs with the expectations of the Township to synthesize sometimes disparate aspirations into a cohesive, integrated public space that is physically and visually accessible and connected to the surrounding neighborhood, and functionally connected to the larger ecosystem.
Carvolth IOS demonstrates exemplary environmental and social awareness by providing critical outdoor public space for neighborhood connection and play, while also providing passive and active educational opportunities for visitors to see and learn about stormwater management. By revealing stormwater processes, Carvolth IOS allows people to view and celebrate the natural systems. Interpretive signage is included to educate further and inform visitors about water and how it is managed on-site, with the hope that with increased understanding will come increased stewardship of the land and water, healing the disconnect created by decades of hiding critical infrastructure where it is out of sight, out of mind.