Preserving & Fostering The Community Through Interior Design

The concept of this blog is an extension of my Bachelor of Interior Design capstone proposal: By The River.

Public spaces are the cornerstone of great communities. By The River is a vibrant social hub in the historical district of New Westminster. The capstone proposal bridges the gap between the city’s historical and cultural ammenities; the waterfront and the main retail core. The space will be a public interior mixed-use facility that will enable around the clock activity. As the city continues to grow By The River will be a space that enables the city to maintain the close community and historical culture of New Westminster.

Activities held within the space will help to promote socialization and building a strong sense of community. The space will be inclusive and ensure that young children to seniors will be able to enjoy the space together. The congregation of different bodies under one roof will help to attract more festivals and events that can bring vibrancy to the area. By The River hopes to become a positive component in helping downtown New Westminster transform into a lively and dynamic area.

Extensive research such as interviews; on-site case studies at the River Market, Telus Garden and Library Square; and behavioural analysis were conducted to help inform the design of the interior spaces.

Site Plan (2)
By The River: Site Plan

The result utilizes both the CPR Building and the BCER Building. As the two buildings are straddled between the Hyack Square both spaces are able to expand into the exterior public spaces and into each building.

Here are some rendering concepts for the interior spaces:

By The River: Florist
Final BarW
By The River: Bar
fINAL Cafe W
By The River: Cafe



New Westminster: Then & Now

New Westminster was chosen as the new colony because of it’s strategic site location. As the city flourished the design and architectural landscape changed with it however always paying respect to it’s site location beside the Fraser River.

While the architecture, shops and certain design elements have changed since 1866 there is once again an appreciation of the downtown area.

Here we will look at the different ways the city landscape have developed in terms of design or remained their historical features:

The Riverfront

Past: New Westminster Quay Side

For over 2 decades the city has been revitalizing their most important asset – the Riverfront. They have added parks, seating, continuous pedestrians bike paths, playground and sporting grounds.

Present Day Riverfront
Present: New Westminster Riverfront. Source: Inn at New Westminster Quay

The Public Market:

Past: New Westminster Public Market. Source: New Westminster Museum

A public market has always been present in New Westminster. The first public market began in 1892 and was rebuilt after the great fire of 1898. The venue has changed and moved over time but the presence of a public market has always been essential in the daily life of the city’s citizens. As a way to make the public market life relevant again the Westmisnter Quay Public Market was redeveloped into River Market.

Present: River Market. Source: Ed Lau

Hyack Square:

Hyack Square
Past: Hyack Square. Source: City of New Westminster

Hyack Square was formally recognized in 1986 although having been established as a public square in 1860. The area was a place for celebrations and gatherings. In 2009 the square was revitalized to accommodate seating, historical features and public art.

Present: Hyack Square. Source: City of New Westminster

Columbia St.:

NW Heritage
Past: Columbia St. New Westminster. Source: Heritage New Westminster

While New Westminster main corridor has changed over time, much of the street still boast original the original architecture to reflect it’s historical roots. The streetcars have been replaced with automobiles but the street is still as walkable today as it was in the past.

Present: Columbia St. New Westminster. Source: Flickr, Ian, Battle Royale1

Paramount Theatre:

City of New Westminster Archives
Past: Paramount Theatre. Source: New Westminster Archives

The Paramount Theatre is the oldest surviving theatre in BC. It was established as Paramount in 1950 by George W. Grant. Although it is no longer a movie theatre the building remains as an entertainment venue. The exterior facade has remained but the interior has changed with the different needs of the activities.

Cinema Treasures
Present: Paramount Theatre. Source: Cinema Treasures