The rules of the game are as simple as they are complex, with consequences that unravel past their initial intentions and govern the ways our bodies are permitted to exist. This game is called Canada, and it starts with the settler colonial project, alternatively known by other names like white supremacy and modernity. Through the systematic order of rules, legal ordinances, maps, geographic surveys, and state-sanctioned violence, the players of the game are produced and the gameboard established – who plays what role in the grand nationalist narrative? Within the context of architecture, urbanism, and “city-making”, examining the language and processes by which space is made and unmade, shared, appropriated, or stolen reveals peculiar logics.


Drawing from the text, “Placemaking as Unmaking: Settler Colonialism, Gentrification and the Myth of “Revitalized” Urban Spaces”, Burns and Berbary criticize the beloved urbanist term “placemaking” as an exclusionary neoliberal process that commodifies space based on contrived values for a particular public. They claim that this understanding of “placekeeping” assumes these spaces have no value and need to be revitalized; denying the existing uses of space by already marginalized groups. It produces a vision of safe, commercial spaces that are sanitized of “undesireables”, allowing for the gentrification process to be carried out by appealing to an upwardly mobile and trendy class. Alternately they look to “placekeeping” as a means to retain and cultivate existing meanings and values around space.

Asking the question, “how do you survive and escape a binary identity within a society that denies your humanity?” leads to the understanding of one’s ability to adapt or bend the rules to suit their needs and wants.

The project responds by envisioning a landscape of futurity that is steeped in the mundane innocence of a childlike curiosity. Play is understood as intergenerational justice. By activating play through multiple generations we can improve health and enable people to live more fulfilling lives. childlike curiosity.

Play is understood as intergenerational justice. By activating play through multiple generations we can improve health and enable people to live more fulfilling lives.

(in collaboration with SPECTACLE BUREAU)

Rhino, 3D Printing, Model Making (wood, plaster, paper, foam board, wire, other found objects)

Vivian Ton

Philip Vandermey

1:50 sketch models

While it is important to recognize the traumas and histories that form this place, it is more than ever important to provide a sanctuary for urban imaginaries to take place. In the last year, the language of social justice has increased exponentially, but in some cases in exploitative ways that – in a counterintuitive way continue to dehumanize these subjects as helpless beings.

The final image (bottom right) was chosen for further development.

The design responds to the need for functional site lighting while integrating a playful and unexpected kinetic movement with rotating lights. Inspired by the tradition of shadow puppet theatre, the rotation of lights through manual manipulation activates ground surface by interfacing with activities on the site.

1:10 Light model development (left)
LED lights and sculpture wire through plastic tubing. Plaster base casted.

1:1 Light detail model (right)
Spinning platform inspired by playground structures.
Ball bearing mechanism placed within to facilitate movement.

1:50 site model
Red is the colour of public furniture and infrastructure in Chinatown – one of the defining urban design and architectural features that marks the identity of the site. By utilizing red, we extend the street into the plaza and stitch it into site. So thus, the playfulness of the plaza and the infrastructural quality of social space becomes endemic and grounded/rooted to place.


© 2022 by Cindy Nachareun. All rights reserved.