Here at JMA, we’ve decided to have some fun by participating in the City of Kitchener’s Neighbourhood Placemaking Challenge. We’re looking at one of the founding community locations in our City, and have proposed a preliminary design to enhance a focal point at the trail / pedestrian / cycling crossing of Queen Street South, and explore the history of the place. If our Placemaking Challenge application is successful, next steps involve working with neighbours, stakeholders, and the surrounding uses and destinations, including Schneider Haus and the Queen’s Green Community Garden, to explore these possibilities further.
Many of us are not aware of the significant aboriginal and non-aboriginal patterns of movement and settlement within our community, and in particular at this Queen Street location. The presence of Schneider Creek, as it flows from Victoria Park Lake under the roadway and onwards to the Grand River, is also not part of our everyday experience of the City.
The laminar flow fountain brings the idea of water back into the public realm. It will act as a focus for the crossings and help to transform the streetscape into an interesting and vibrant place in our community. This transformation will benefit all users and neighbours, and will celebrate the importance of water to our community. It will also make more apparent the story of Joseph and Barbara Schneider, who came from Pennsylvania to build homestead and mill at this location. We have named the intervention Miigwech Nibi (thank you water) in honour of the historic aboriginal trail that followed the creek, and our First Nations’ holistic view of water and stewardship of our planet.
The laminar flow fountain can be programmed for continuous operation (creating an arch that “frames” the street) or intermittent operation (creating the sense of a jumping “fish”). By using programmable LED lighting for nighttime use, the fun and effects can be further explored and enjoyed. The final design might be one or several fountain streams, but the idea is to create “arches over Queen Street” so that this sense of connection, of “leap”, and of celebration, is the focal point of an enhanced place for pedestrians and road users.
We hope that this project and design can change perceptions and relations among pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, and create a sense of place for this important intersection of cultures, people, and history.
As the project and design move forward, we wish to engage everyone:
John MacDonald Architect (Business)
Queen’s Green Community Garden (Community group)
REEP (Business / Environmental group)
The Schneider Creek Neighbourhood Working Group (Neighbourhood group)
The Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association (Neighbourhood group)
Local businesses at Mitchell and Queen Street (Business owners)
Polocorp (Business at 379 Queen St. S. and developers of Barra Castle)
Tell us what you think, should Kitchener implement the idea of having a water fountain over Queen Street South?