Faces behind the campaign: Meet Ali Kenyon and Steve DiPasquale of HCMA Architecture + Design
Ali Kenyon and Steve DiPasquale are the talented architects on the More Awesome Now team. Steve is an architect from HCMA + Architecture and Design, and Ali is an architect and Associate at HCMA.
With backgrounds in art and design, Ali and Steve design environments, both big and small, inside and outside, permanent and temporary. They have formidable skill sets that include wild imaginations, highly technical material knowledge, and building code and permitting requirement understanding.
When HCMA worked with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association on another urban activation project, the DVBIA shared its dream with HCMA to ‘Re-Imagine’ the laneways of Vancouver. HCMA decided then and there to join forces with the DVBIA – and the More Awesome Now team was born.
“The More Awesome Now partnership is both a ‘call to action’ empowering citizens to make their own cities better, and a statement that demands more awesomeness,” says Ali. “The parties involved are forward thinking organizations who care deeply about making Vancouver a better place and are willing to put in the leg work to make it happen!”
Last summer, More Awesome Now successfully launched Vancouver’s first activated alleyway, Alley Oop. Ali and Steve knew from Alley Oop’s basketball hoops that in order for Ackery’s Alley to be successful, it needed an interactive draw. FIELD’s interactivity addresses this. “One of the most delightful gifts that design gives back is the unexpected use or adoption of some aspect, when individuals use a design in creative ways, becoming an active part of it and its design. It excites us so much that projects like this might change the way citizens think about public space,” says Ali.
For Steve, Ackery’s Alley means a lot of things. “It’s so many things at once. It’s about inclusivity and giving performance, entertainment and life to the street. It’s a historical nod to a man who gave Vancouver a little extra uniqueness and idiosyncrasy. It’s also an invitation for city dwellers to reimagine their city and to inspire a new vitality that Vancouver is sometimes criticized for lacking.”
The support from Vancouverites and beyond for the project has been humbling. “Everyone we talk to is excited by the idea – it’s as if they’ve been waiting for it! It feels that NOW is the right time for this transformation in Vancouver,” Ali says.