Oxbow Architecture, and students from the Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop (CNYC), have designed a community social space called ‘Eh Frame’ to “help alleviate the isolation of an omicron winter in Saskatoon.”
The team is participating in a design-build installation as part of the City of Saskatoon’s Wintercity Initiative with funding through the Wintercity Micro Grant Program.
The installation will include an A-frame pergola along with playful lighting and furniture in an empty and unused space adjacent to Oxbow’s Saskatoon office along 20th Street. According to Oxbow Architecture, the intention is to create a space of interest that draws people off the street to hang out in the space and enjoy spending time in a free and safe outdoor place.
“This installation will activate a vacant alleyway by creating an active social space for gathering, play, and relaxation; while simultaneously fostering a meaningful connection to community and street-life along 20th Street,” said Brad Pickard, a co-creator for the installation with Oxbow.
Inspired by the Canadian A-frame cabin, the installation’s modular design will create a series of social zones, designed to maximize the social amenity potential of this otherwise unused property.
Completely built off-site (working with neighbourhood students through a series of workshops at CNYC with support from 3Twenty Modular) and installed in just one day, the installation is scheduled to go into place on February 4th.
“We’re excited to be partnering with CNYC again on a project that we hope will have a positive impact in our community” said Sam Lock, Architect at Oxbow. “Social connection is so important during these challenging winter months, and providing a free outdoor space that is safe and engaging is a great way to facilitate that.”
Eh-Frame draws inspiration from the relatively recent movement of citizen-led built interventions, more popularly known as “tactical urbanism,” which have sprung up across North America to improve local streets, neighbourhoods and urban spaces. This installation explores the notion of tactical urbanism through the lens of design, architecture and community engagement.
While the intent of the installation is that it be enjoyed by citizens and visitors to 20th Street, the Eh Frame team hopes the completed project will also spark future conversations within the Saskatoon community around the design of city infrastructure and public spaces during the winter months.