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



Where To Go & What To See

StrEAT Festival in downtown

New Westminster is constantly growing with new local businesses and initiatives all working together to help support the community. Check out the list below!

Interior Designers & Architecture firms in New Westminster:

  • Pattison Architecture:
    River Market, 810 Quayside Dr. #201
    (604) 525-3232
  • Alan Brown Architect
    110 3rd Avenue
    (604) 525-5259
  • Randy Bens Architect
    1833 Edinburgh St.
    (604) 540-5102
  • Billard Architecture
    42 Begbie Street, New Westminter
    (604) 619-0529
  • Design With Confidence:
    314 Sixth St.
    (604) 553-0484
  • Bliss ReDesigns
    230 Salter St.
    (778) 872-5477
  • Intermind Design Inc.
    609 Lidster PI
    (604) 338-9936

Social Media Accounts to follow:

Instagram: the_royal_city

Instagram: Tourismnewwest

Instagram: Downtownnewwest

Instagram: City of New Westminster

Where to learn all about the history of New Westminster and see how the city has changed:

  • New Westminster Public Library
    Check their website out here.
  • New Westminster Museum and Archives
    777 Columbia St.
  • Irving House
    320 Royal Ave.
  • Heritage Walking Tour: Downtown
    Check out this tour you can do yourself from the Heritage Walking Tour.
    Here is the brochure for the downtown tour.

    Other notable businesses to follow:

    The following business promote local innovation and design in New Westminster.

Hive City Hive City
Hive City is a storefront and cafe and they create products using cardboard. They support many of the local businesses by providing sustainable design solutions.

Interview with Leslie Shieh of River Market

River Market Curious Floor

The River Market has evolved from over 100 years of a public market’s presence in New Westminster. When the original Westminster Quay Public Market was in derelict, Leslie and her partner saw an opportunity to make the market relevant again. The new venture included a complete redesign of the interior spaces with all new tenants and activities that will bring life into the space. An interview with Leslie Shieh, Project Manager, was conducted to understand her vision for the River Market.

Why New Westminster?
New Westminster is geographically cenetered in the Lower
Mainland with Vancouver to the North and Surrey to the South. The
areas is also very accessible by transit and road. New Westminster
has a growing population which can be accredited to the rapid
redevelopment of the area. The area also has an active residential
population who take part in community events.

What is different now than from the original building?
The whole building was gutted and renovated with a new layout.
The amount of stores were reduced significantly to ensure vendors
had adequate space for their respective functions. This allows food
and beverage companies to accommodate a full kitchen which
allows them to cater out of the River Market and build on their

Largest group of demographics using the space?
Seniors, adults with their children and families.

Types of businesses you allow in the space?
Local businesses and entrepreneurs

What events happen in the space?
In the flex space and food hall various events can take place such
as: craft fairs, fundraisers, mom swap meets, and Art Starts
(Monthly Events).

From this interview we can conclude that the redesign of the River Market has become an essential part of the daily community again. By Leslie and their respective partners investing into the building they have created a space designed for families, students and workers to gather collaboratively under one roof.

New Westminster Food Hall