Emily Campbell, an intern in architecture at local firm Fougere Menchenton Architecture, is spearheading an ambitious project called the Wandering Pavilion. The Wandering Pavillion is a temporary structure that wanders around St. John’s changing function as it moves.

It could be a wifi hub one day, vegetable stand or outdoor stage the next.  The project is expected to launch in the summer 2016.  Its temporary “pop-up” nature would allow us to test what works where in the city. This is probably the greatest idea/initiaitve in this city for quite some time.

When Campbell uses the term “placemaking,” she is referring to engaging the citizens of a community to collaborate and capitalize on its assets, ideas, and potential to create quality public spaces that contribute to people’s health, happiness, and wellbeing.

“Wikipedia defines public engagement as the involvement of specialists listening to, developing their understanding of, and interacting with, non-specialists,” she says, “but the way I see engagement is a little different.”

Her vision breaks down why the specialists need us, the public, to help this initiative. We the public bring our “deep and day-to-day understanding of the issue at hand” to the table, while specialists, like an architect, can “build on this information by layering their knowledge of building codes, best practices, and project management experience.”

For example, “If we were talking about redesigning a hospital, then it would be the nurses, doctors, maintenance crew, and patients that would understand what works or doesn’t,” and their input would inform the design and implementation of it.

The project’s founders are collaborating with local business, community organizations, and non-profits such as Happy City St. John’s to make sure the project meets the needs of various communities.

They have also begun holding six public consultation sessions, each with a separate focus. Campbell says the discussions with community members and organizations will determine what the pavilion is used for and where it is placed.

Engagement Sessions

  • Focus on Business – October 21st 4:30-6:30pm at the Rocket Room
  • Focus on Downtown East – October 27th 7:00-9:00pm at the Lantern on Barnes Road
  • Focus on Food – November 2nd, 2:00-4:00pm at Mallard Cottage
  • Focus on Quidi Vidi – November 4th, 7:00-9:00pm at Quidi Vidi Plantation
  • Focus on Downtown West – November 10th, 7:00-9:00pm at Victoria Park Poolhouse
  • Focus on Art – November 12th, 7:00-9:00pm at the Eastern Edge Gallery

Each session will take the format of a “charette,” a term architects use to describe a brief but intensive way of generating a design solution.  At the end of each session, the organizers hope the group can agree on one or two uses for the pavilion.

“We hope to involve the people attending the sessions while the pavilion wanders.  For example, a local dance group who attends the focus on art session may perform an interactive piece in Bannerman Park next summer.”

To give another example, “the result of the Focus on Business session may be that local business owners decide they need a way to mitigate the upcoming construction on Water Street.”

In this circumstance the Wandering Pavilion may be set up as an information hub.  Alternatively it could be set up as multiple stages for buskers to perform on creating an event that brings people downtown even though the street is under construction.

Each session will be facilitated by someone within the focus group or community to be addressed.  While each session is organized slightly differently, all sessions are open to the public.  More information can be found on the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Wanderingpavilion.