The Gathering

This proposed art project is designed for UniverCity, a sustainable community located adjacent to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby. The proposal takes the form of a long table to be nestled near the edge of University High Street in the right of way between two housing blocks. It is intended to become a shared gathering place for all residents, including flora and fauna.

The form of a table was chosen to represent and reinforce a sense of gathering for the communities of the university. This cross-cultural symbol of collectivity evokes ideas of communality around events such as dinners, discussions, celebrations, even bake sales and strata meetings.

The seven meter long structure will accommodate a large group of up to 26 people. Smaller groups can also form in intimate clusters scattered along its length.

A special feature of the design will be three native dogwood trees (cornus nuttallii) growing up through the table surface. The dogwood has distinct seasonal cycles producing flowers in the spring, beautifully coloured leaves in the autumn, and red berries in winter. The table, made of basalt stone, will serve as a continuum to the ever-changing character of the trees. We imagine this setting will engender a seasonal and longer-term experience of time, and set a dialogue in motion on the relationship of humans to nature.

the gathering is a meditation on permanence and flux in all things. The stone evokes the underlying geological strata of our region, and the trees are a celebration of growth and seasonality. The equity in this table is perhaps its most interesting quality — intended to be accessible to humans, plants and even animals. It is both a symbol and tangible sharing of space for all participants in the social and natural ecology of the community.

The Gathering
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Studio Team
Bill Pechet, Gabe Daly, Esteban Matheus
Project Team
Esteban Matheus, Gabe Daly, Bill Pechet