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River Green marks milestone

Artists Nancy Chew and Jacqueline Metz designed a pedestrian bridge at River Green that pays tribute to Richmond’s most famous bird.  - Matthew Hoekstra
Artists Nancy Chew and Jacqueline Metz designed a pedestrian bridge at River Green that pays tribute to Richmond’s most famous bird.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra

Richmond’s largest residential project marked another milestone Tuesday afternoon, as project and city officials celebrated a pair of art projects that form part of the first phase of the $1.7-billion development.

Aspac Developments Ltd. officially unveiled two works of art integrated into the upscale Oval Village high-rise community known as River Green.

Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew designed a 27-metre pedestrian bridge titled stillness & motion, which links two towers.

The artists adopted Richmond’s great blue heron as a focal point for the work, which blends a glass facade of the bridge with a translucent video of herons at rest.

“We were inspired by the nature of Richmond, and specifically the iconic bird: the great blue heron,” said Chew. “From the outside it’s kind of abstract, but from the inside you’re walking next to the…herons. They’re life size.”

At night—until 10 p.m. now—it has another life, with a slow looping video projection of a heron.

Developers in Richmond have the option of contributing cash to the city’s public art fund, or incorporating artwork directly into their projects. Doing that, said Metz, makes a development more personal and intimate.

“It’s kind of given it an identity, or personality,” she said.

A second piece comes from renowned Coast Salish artist Susan Point and son Thomas Cannell, who designed Fish Trap Way: a four-part installation that represents spawning salmon and their importance to the Musqueam people.

John Ryan, vice-president of development for Aspac, said River Green’s first phase of 458 homes is complete and approximately 80 per cent sold. The firm is now in the development permit stage for Phase 2, which is east of the Richmond Olympic Oval. Those two towers will add another 173 homes to the neighbourhood—along with more public art.

“We expect to break ground in March of 2015,” said Ryan, who said a date for the sales launch has yet to be set. “We’re working with the city on a new park right on the waterfront, which will have a pier. We’re looking at how to integrate some of our public art onto the waterfront park.”

River Green is expected to comprise approximately 2,500 homes when completed in 15 to 18 years, said Ryan.

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