By Kim Cooper & Marten Sims
Creekside Community Centre Garden, False Creek Seawall, Vancouver, B.C.
September to December, 2014
Nest showcases a unique blend from Vancouver’s rich Design, Arts, Engagement and Ecological sectors. It is designed to be both sculptural and functional: providing seawall pedestrians and neighbourhood residents with a beautifully crafted object; by providing a meeting space to connect with their community; as well as a place to ponder co-existence with our avifauna friends. The sculpture is designed to be entered and to offer visitors a place of respite in the form of a circular bench on the interior. From within, visitors have the chance to experience the world from the uncanny perspective of a hatchling, or adult nesting bird, which places them directly in a previously unconsidered ‘birds-eye-view’ of the world and may enable them to form new kinds of admiration for, relationships with and encourage conservation efforts for avian species.
For thousands of years the False Creek area, an ecologically rich intertidal estuary known as Sen ákw in the Squamish language, was home to hundreds of native and migratory bird species. The Coast Salish peoples (Skwxwú7mesh, Tsliel-waututh, and Xwméthkwyiem) used the estuary as both a passageway and a place to fish and hunt for birds and seals. With the arrival of the colonialists, these lands were fragmented and alienated from the much larger indigenous landscape and by the 1960’s the entire area had been sold and filled-in for development and industry. Today, Sen ákw is one of the most densely populated areas in Canada and the past abundance of bird species was thought to never return. Despite this, ongoing efforts are being made by the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Parks, community gardens, local ecological groups (such as the Urban Wildlife Action Network), stream ‘daylighting‘ groups and artist-designers (such as The Department of Bird Safety) to draw attention to these issues and restore parts of Vancouver’s natural forested, intertidal and shoreline habitat and as a result, the variety of bird species and numbers observed in the area continues to rise. Nest was designed to give us an inside perspective on birds as they continue to seek nesting ground in this ecologically rebounding neighbourhood as well as navigate the new constraints that hazards like reflective surfaces, bright lights, glass windows, felines and canines place upon them.
The Nest project was supported by the City of Vancouver’s Community and Neighbourhood Development Program. Nest was designed and built by Kim Cooper & Marten Sims of the Vancouver Design Nerds and constructed at the Vancouver CoLab. The structure uses a mix of local and re-purposed douglas fir, western red cedar, spruce and re-purposed steel from Capital Salvage.