Tactical Urbanism: Benchlet Design

Tactical Urbanism: Benchlet Design

Comfortable and accessible seating is an important feature of successful urban space. As Project for Public Spaces emphasizes, "Seating is an indicator for the health of a space and the community that uses it,"   Yet, in many public spaces, a nice seat can be hard to find. Recognizing a series of Vancouver public spaces that lacked seating, Metropolitan Collective employed tactical urbanism to create a series of benchlets, with support from the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Foundation. Simple and easy to build yourself, benchlets can address seating needs and add greenery to a range of spaces.  Made primarily of re-purposed wooden pallets, which many lumber yards will give away for free, benchlets offer a sustainable seating and greenery solution that doesn't break the bank. These sturdy pieces are designed to spark conversation, bring people together and share information on the value of local greenery. Easy to assemble and transport, benchlets can be used for pop-up events or long-term installations. Over the past two years, we've spread benchlets across Vancouver. Now, we'd like to see them appear around the world! Have a look at the instructions and images below. If you have any questions, get in touch!

Benchlet Instructions:

In terms of dimensions, you can use all sorts of dimensions, but a good standard is:

  • 5 pallets - 5' by 6'
  • 2 2x4's - 12'
  • The overall dimensions of the boxes are 3' wide and 2'x2 6" high. The bench is 6' long.

To make each box:

  • Cut 2 pallets lengthwise along the slats. You now have 4 half-pallets that are 2'6" x 3' each.
  • Make a box and secure from inside the pallets.
  • Cut 2 - 2'6" long pieces of 2x4. Secure these pieces to the inside face of the bench (the face that will be touching the bench).

To make the bench:

  • Cut 1 pallet lengthwise along the slats. You now have 2 half pallets that are 2'6" x 3' each.
  • Place the half-pallets lengthwise. This should make a 6' long section
  • Cut a 12' 2x4 in half. Place a 6' section on each side of the pallets and secure. Also secure the pallets to each other.

To complete the benchlet:

  • Place the two boxes approximately 6' apart.
  • Sit the bench on the two 2x4's secured to the boxes.
  • Push the boxes together.
  • Secure the bench to the boxes & the 2x4's secured to the boxes