Ketcheson Neighbourhood Park

WLA | Damian Holmes


PWL Partnership led the design for Ketcheson Neighbourhood Park, a 1.6-acre park in the Capstan Village in Richmond, British Columbia. Ketcheson Park is a precedent-setting project of a public park that has been delivered by the developer and owned and maintained in perpetuity by the developer / residential strata. As cities look for additional opportunities for public park space, this often requires expensive land acquisitions in land constrained City Centres, the ability for the park to be overbuilt on a structure was an effective way to address this challenge. The park design involved close engagement with City staff to ensure that the program met municipal requirements. The developer was able to deliver a heightened level of quality and uniqueness beyond what could be achieved within established park budgets. The use of high-quality materials including stone paving, high-quality concrete work and robust hardwood are examples of investing the initial capital into Ketcheson park to ensure quality that would last for decades to come.

The park’s design draws inspiration from the local riverine landscape of the Fraser River Delta, as well as cultural and historical elements from the community. Our team worked closely with a Feng Shui Master to draw eastern influences and provide a good flow of ‘chi’ in the park design. The garden elements include a series of islands surrounded by water and a contemporary pavilion designed to be a reinterpretation of traditional Asian tea houses.  The forms of the Richmond landscape are reflected in the sinuous water features and the green open spaces.  Water weaves through the park and connects the varied spaces and activity points through a series of tranquil reflecting pools and meandering streams. The park embraces Richmond’s diverse Asian heritage with groves of blossoming Cherry trees. A water emanating tower in a children’s playground is an abstraction of a traditional pagoda. References to Richmond’s historic fishery industry are reflected in an abstracted play element that includes a fishing boat as a climbing structure and view deck.

PWL Partnership wanted to create a truly biophilic space that is inspired by nature. Lush plantings and water features create a green oasis that instills a sense of calmness, reflection and joy for both residents and visitors alike – a landscape that borrows inspiration from its context and creates a place that feels like it has always been there.