Perhaps you had seen the lit letters of GESAMT KUNST WERK when you crossed Granville Bridge and wondered what it was all about. Well, the cityline is going to change after this project.
Gesamt Kunst Werk. In German, that means a total work of art. The sale centre is gone now, but I had the opportunity to check it out on the last day before its closure.
It’s been a 7 years of design work and continuing process of this sculpture masterpiece. There is also the controversial major installation of a Spinning Chandelier by Rodney Graham under Granville Bridge.
The sales centre wasn’t your typical glamourous, fancy ones. It was raw and authentic like you had just been invited into the design office of where the project is being developed. The walls are covered by different options, renderings, tables with miniature mockups of the process and endless booklets of all the details of the building and community.
There was a gentleman who was quite upset and complained about the photos being taken by 3 cameras in the centre. They were positioned at ceiling height and automatically took photos every few seconds. The staff said they were going to be using them for a time lapse video later on, though that didn’t convince the man who didn’t like the idea his photos were being taken (and perhaps used later on) without his consent.
Put that incident aside, it looks like the area is going to be getting quite a facelift to what it is now.
Upon exiting the centre, I walked around the block and saw some old abandoned buildings. I was intrigued to find a locked up old gas station which in no doubt will be bulldozed for the project. After finding the blog on Gunkanjima, I’ve been fascinated with towns or communities that were completely abandoned, left sometimes in good condition, as if everyone suddenly left overnight. It makes me think of the people that walked through there, worked there and had their lives there.However, unless it’s had some significant historical influence, it almost usually gets bulldozed and built with something new for the future.
I do worry about the increasing living density in downtown. Not just this project, but with so many condos to be still built, I wonder what the city is going to do about the traffic and parking problem. Of course the cost of rent and to own is also very difficult. It will be interesting to see how things develop in this area.