This project was a commission from the City of Vancouver for the new National Street Works Yard. It represents a street cutaway of services provided by the city above and below ground: streets, sidewalks, traffic signals, parking operations, street signage, boulevard trees, electrical services, water mains, storm drains and sanitary drains. Real objects were drawn from the City's inventory for the project. Street light and well-light are connected to the city grid and come on every night. The roadway is supported by the split manholes and the cylindrical tree planter.
As the city grows it spreads its infrastucture underground, continuously extending and repairing what it has already produced. This is the true underground, an unseen subterranean network which, even when it carries the most high-tech conduits, is essentially mechanical, analog, brutally physical, blue collar and labour-dependent. It constitutes a hidden lowerarchy of work. Its preferred materials are refractory: concrete, asphalt, steel, cast iron: the materials of the industrial revolution. This crude and very basic technology is made to last fifty or a hundred years unattended underground. Buried valves are expected to work when a street cover is flipped open and a long-handled T-shaped street key is dropped several feet down the shaft onto a nut at the top of a cast-iron 120-pound non-rising-stem gate valve, to crank shut an 8-inch water main on a side street. The city manages low-profit utilities like water and waste, and other high-profit ones, like electricity, gas and telecommunications, are privatized.