Following a rigorous, quantitative analysis of the Lansdowne Mall site in Richmond, BC, we begin to understand the rich layers of complexity inherent in not only this specific site, but also in almost any architectural endeavour.

The current reality of ‘downtown’ Richmond is eerily inconsistent with its goals for meaningful community development. For a supposed urban centre, Richmond is awesome in its empty vastness, to the point of absurdity. No. 3 Road – the main north-south arterial street – remains a vehicle-dominated thoroughfare, and the accommodations made for traffic seemingly indicate not just an allowance but a promotion of car-based activities. The Lansdowne Mall parking lot is arguably the largest contiguous expanse of paved surface in all of Vancouver.

Richmond hopes to transform No. 3 Road and Lansdowne Road into vibrant city streetscapes, capitalizing on major developments such as the south RAV Line (Richmond-Airport-Vancouver) connection and the 2010 Olympics speedskating oval/multi-use complex. The current investigations and speculations hope to introduce, in the most general terms, diversity to a rather mundane landscape.

This diversity is not limited to simply topography or an expanse of multi-use megastructure. Richmond’s cultural diversity provides a conceptual framework for an architecture unique to Richmond, one that reflects the hopes and desires of its residents, from Europeans to Asians, from new Canadians to old Canadians, from young to old.

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