Folded, draped, wrapped: 'Blankets' art adds symbolic warmth to Surrey's new energy centre

Folded, draped, wrapped: ‘Blankets’ art adds symbolic warmth to Surrey’s new energy centre

Colours of Erica Stocking's artwork correspond to facility's heat production and distribution systems

  • Jul. 3, 2019 12:00 a.m.

Some symbolic public art is featured atop Surrey’s first permanent district energy centre.

Vancouver-based artist Erica Stocking sculpted blankets made of fibreglass to rest on three boiler stacks of the new West Village Energy Centre, on Central Avenue, southeast of the 104th Avenue/132nd Street intersection.

The three variations of the blankets (folded, draped and wrapped) “match the three states of energy: stored, waiting, and in use,” according to a release from operators of the city’s Public Art Program.

“Erica Stocking conveys the building’s function as a carrier of warmth through her ‘Blankets’ artwork. Sitting atop the boiler stacks on the roof, these fibreglass sculptures connect the warmth the Centre generates for residents with the warmth a person creates when wrapping a loved one in a blanket.

“The colours of the artwork correspond to the heat production and distribution systems inside the Energy Centre.”

The building and adjacent park were officially opened June 20.

• READ MORE: City hopes Surrey’s new energy centre will be ‘a window’ into sustainability.


Using natural-gas boilers, fueled in part by biogas produced from organic waste at the Surrey Biofuel Facility, the Energy Centre generates heat energy for buildings in the West Village neighbourhood and City Centre connected via underground pipes.

Stocking says the sculptures are inspired by the question: What is a contemporary hearth in an age of industrial fire?

“Perhaps a contemporary hearth does not involve fire at all but is the sharing of space,” she said in a release, which goes on to explain: “The theme of fire, and therefore heat, reminds visitors of humanity’s historical reliance on fire and the Energy Centre’s function as a modern hearth.”

Stocking developed “Blankets” after consulting with area residents and also students at Kwantlen Park Secondary.

Surrey’s Public Art Program, established in 1998, aims to contribute “to the creation of a lively, beautiful, inclusive, and complete community.”

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