LandscapingOn Site Landscape
The design of the New City Hall is intended to represent the character of Richmond's people, culture and landscape through the introduction of the following elements:
- A water garden with an island in the south terrace symbolizes Richmond its self as an island surrounded by water. The water garden also serves as an important design element to help develop this important most southerly gateway to the downtown area.
- Many of Richmond's native plants are used within the water garden. A magnolia tree from the original City Hall site has been carefully relocated in the water garden to reflect the importance of Richmond's past.
- The north court located behind the building is the primary open space and is connected to all parts of the City Hall facility. It is a simple, finely defined space that will accommodate a wide range of a activities, ceremonies and informal uses. It is paved with concrete unit paving and cut stone banding. A stage is included in the north court which is surrounded by seating walls and birch trees which are native to Richmond.
- The East Lawn which is located at the front of the building along No. 3 Road is a broad open space which also includes the preservation of the large heritage trees. The plan has retained as many of the trees as possible. Some of the landscape that was removed from the site has been re-planted in Richmond parks. The trees are an enduring feature of the new facility as they have outlasted two facilities. The Cenotaph is located in the East Lawn.
- The West Terraces are smaller, more intimate spaces for sitting and informal gatherings. The southern space contains a small grouping of trees and a water source which cascades down the terraces to the water gardens of the south terraces.
- The terraces are intended to symbolize the landscape form of the dyke and are planted with birch and native evergreen trees.
- The plantings are comprised largely of Richmond's local palette of plant materials. The planting concept uses formalized plantings of native and non-native species composed to represent abstracted landscape types of the island. All the materials, furnishings and appointments used in the landscape are co-ordinated with the materials used in the building. Even the dedication plaque that will be erected on the building as part of the Opening Ceremonies is co-ordinated with the materials used on the building rather than using a standard bronze plaque.
- Two Sister City gardens have been included as part of the overall site plan.
- Annuals and perennials are strategically planted at entry points to the site to add colour and to welcome visitors.
As part of the City's Beautification Strategy, careful attention has been given to the design of the streetscapes surrounding the new facility. The goals of the streetscape plan are: (1) To create an enhanced park-like pedestrian environment that connects people to the City Hall, surrounding parks and other facilities in the Civic Precinct area; (2) To help define this important gateway to the downtown; (3) To provide a co-ordinated streetscape that helps to create neighbourhood character.
- In order to achieve these goals, the following has been done:
- An improved pedestrian environment is created through the development of wide treed line sidewalks that connect people to the new hall, and the other community facilities in the Civic Precinct such as the Cultural Centre.
- Red oak trees have been planted along the Granville Avenue frontage and in the centre road median as part of a long term strategy to create a more park-like City as these trees will eventually form a canopy over the street.
- Red oak trees will eventually be planted along other sections of Granville Avenue to define an enhanced park-like pedestrian route which will link Richmond's major City Centre parks including Minoru, Brighouse, and the future McLennan North park. Careful attention has also been given not to plant large trees in front of the water feature, so that view from the street is not obstructed and Brighouse Park appears to be visually connected to the site.
- In order to reduce visual clutter, and enable the planting of the oak trees, the Hydro lines have been placed underground. Unsightly traffic control kiosks have been relocated, and through new technological advancements, the large hydro kiosk which are typically a target for graffiti has also been placed underground.
- In the summer hanging baskets will be erected from the new City Centre standard decorative streets lights to provide colour along this key pedestrian route. Automatic irrigation has been installed to reduce the need for hand watering and thus reducing maintenance costs and traffic disruptions.
- As part of the opening celebrations, a special street banner will be erected along Granville Avenue, No. 3 Road, Westminster Highway, and Minoru Boulevard surrounding the New City Hall.
- Flowers will be planted at the corner of the site by the new sign and in a portion of the median close to the intersection to help define this important gateway location to the downtown.
- All the hard and soft landscaping materials used are co-ordinated with the materials used on-site, as well as in other areas of the City Centre in order to ensure a seamless integration of the on and off-site works.