Innovation in Design Nomination!
The Penzer Parkour Park, designed by Colin MacDonald and the Parkour Visions team, was recently nominated in two categories in the prestigious 2018 B.C. Wood Design Award, which aim to honor excellence in wood-based projects.
While we anticipate and look forward to hearing the winners on February 26, we want to take a second to step back and recognize the significant obstacles that have to be overcome when trying to build a play space that can truly serve practitioners of all ages. We quick grabbed Colin for a few questions on his process, problems, and ideas!
Can you quickly tell me a little bit about Penzer Park and what makes it unique?
COLIN: Penzer is cool because its a real hub for action sports. Along with the parkour area, it has a skate park, MTB course, natural playground, and a multi-sport court. The area around the park is very residential, and it's cool to see how the park just gets flooded with kids and teens when school is out. There was a lot of land set aside for the parkour area - 10,000SF - and we knew we needed to make a big statement with the design. A lot of people are still unfamiliar with parkour, so we wanted the park to draw people in visually and give them things to do even if they didn't have a lot of experience.
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced during designing/building this project?
COLIN: The whole park is right under the path of high-voltage transmission lines. The power authority was concerned about large metal structures becoming conductive, which meant the standard sort of welded bar shapes weren't going to be possible here. We had to fight to get any bars at all, and eventually what we did was insulate the metal by sheathing the bars in fiberglass tubes. They're a little thicker than we would have preferred, but they're super strong and no one is getting zapped!
What advice do you have for others interested in getting a park like this built in their community?
COLIN: A tiny fraction of all park users actually attend the public interest meetings that accompany the design or renovation of a new park. If you show up in person to a room with 15 other people, your voice becomes enormously powerful. Also consider contacting your city council representative directly. A personal email or call can make a huge difference.