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Westminster Pier Park

New Westminster, British Columbia | 2015-2016
Pier Park
Pier Park

The New Westminster waterfront was the historical heart of the city, but as it grew civic life shifted away from the river to Main Street. Our challenge was to re-introduce New Westminster’s downtown to its waterfront—creating a space that connects with the city’s roots and celebrates its commercial history. This included designing 0.9 acres/0.38 hectares of sustainable parkland on new piers, that need to hold strong for at least 75 years.

Pier Park
Pier Park

We dug into the past, explored archives, and talked to residents. We looked at the patterns of the city and saw natural street connections that could tie the pier back to the city fabric. Multiple pathways lead visitors through the park to spaces designed for play and rest, ensuring the park feels like more than just a thoroughfare, offering something new to discover on each return visit.

Westminster Pier Park Hinge Loungers
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Hinge Loungers
These distinctive, custom-designed hinge loungers were inspired by hand trucks used on the docks and may be tipped to face either the river or the city.

We created unique design elements that recall culturally significant events, people, and places. Hinge Loungers—pivoting chaise chairs—were inspired by the hand-trucks used on the docks. A weathered-steel Memory Band, laser-cut with historical references—from First Nations to Woodlands hospital—runs the length of the park. The skeleton of a large, timber-frame structure that recalls New Westminster’s old market building marks the heart of the park in Lytton Square. It houses a plaza, concession area, and washrooms. Old telephone poles form a “Pile Forest” mimicking what it would be like under the docks, while hand cranks and windsocks nod to the waterfront’s industrial past. These features, along with a series of photo panels set into seat steps, help tell the story of BC’s original industrial centre. 

Westminster Pier Park tall grasses
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Play Experiences
​​​​​​​As play is a key component of the park, play spaces are speckled throughout the park and provide varied challenges and experiences for a wide range of age groups.

At the edge of the boardwalk we created a new habitat ledge planted with native species beneficial to fish and wildlife. Visitors can look over the boardwalk’s railing or walk out onto the new piers to get a year-round river view. 
 

Westminster Pier Park Play
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Pile Forest
Re-purposed telephone poles are used to create a “Pile Forest” which provides a sense of what it might feel like on the underside of the pier while a rolling lawn reflects the park’s Fraser River context.

The park serves the entire community thanks to children’s play areas, skateboard steps, a 2,000-capacity festival lawn, and a paved space for farmers’ markets, beach volleyball, and movie nights. 

Lytton Square Market Structure
The heavy timber structure was designed to a similar form and volume as the original Lytton Square Market. The structure provides weather protection over the plaza below and has an upper deck that allows prospect over the park to the Fraser River.

In 1892, the first official City sponsored public market in New Westminster was located in Lytton Square, right on the waterfront in an open area on Front Street, and was the heart of New Westminster's burgeoning fishery.  The market was destroyed soon after by a fire in 1898.  Honouring of this important part of the City's vital riverfront history and culture, the market was reintroduced as a heavy timber covered structure that is activated by a park concession and a civic plaza that can accommodate a wide range of programmed events and activities.  

Aerial View of Westminster Pier Park
Located at the heart of the park is the rebuilt Lytton Square Market structure that frames a civic plaza space. The pier structure runs obliquely to the Fraser River, allowing for an extended promenade inboard of the navigable waterways.
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Awards

2015
Waterfront Center Honor Award 

Royal City Builders Award - Landscape Design

2014
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Urban Design Award

2013
Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) Regional Honour Award

International Downtown Association Public Space Downtown Pinnacle Award

Collaborators 
WorleyParsons
GL Williams and Associates
Dialog
Sea to Sky Geotech
Total Lighting Solutions
Perez Engineering
Wilco