Last Monday evening in Richmond City Hall Wing Leung of W.T. Leung Architects Inc., made a third presentation to city counsel for a proposed billion dollar complex to be built in the heart of Richmond. After pitching the project using colourful architectural drawings, 3-dimensional models, taking questions from city councilors and the public, Leung watched as a unanimous decision was made for the project to go ahead.
Leung says, "There is never a guarantee until the voting takes place but we received a lot of support and enthusiasm for the project from planning, transportation, engineering, real estate, and parks - all were in support of the proposal so we were pleased with the result."
In the audience showing their support for Leung was Trinity Western University President Dr. Jonathan Raymond and other TWU staff. What makes this development so important is its design. Consisting of five-towers the complex will also feature a 33, 000 square foot community centre and a 22,000 square foot educational space for Trinity Western University. This marks the first extension site into Metro Vancouver for Canada's premier Christian liberal arts university.
"TWU sees a tremendous opportunity for synergy, working together with the community. We see the university in Richmond serving as an International Centre for Canadian/Asian culture and dialogue," said Raymond enthusiastically to the councilors during a discussion period before the final decision.
TWU has found success with an extension campus in Bellingham, Washington that offers two year adult degree-completion programs. This is one of the many programs that the University is considering bringing to Richmond.
As the architect responsible for the design, Leung created the complex with a strong sense of community in mind. He says, "I have a theory about how public buildings should be handled in the city and like everything else in the growth of cities, you'll find that certain buildings have hierarchies such as law courts, universities, galleries, community centres, museums and libraries. These public interest buildings and spaces rank in importance to the development of human kind - they have a higher place, they rank higher than commercial residential buildings."
With that thought in mind Leung, along with the anonymous Malaysian developer/philanthropist picked the most inviting corner for the community centre and the university to be built. The south west corner will receive the most sun throughout the day resulting in a pleasant atmosphere for both the public spaces. Leung explains, "We picked the best corner because it deserves to be in the best corner. Our client supports this and subscribes to that."
TWU will be bringing its high standards in academic excellence to Richmond. Recently TWU received a third consecutive A+ for its quality of education in a report by the Globe and Mail University report card. With planning underway to begin phase one of the development project, TWU will have time to assess what programs they will be offering in Richmond. Says Raymond, "We have spoken to many influential leaders and are continuing to dialogue with them. As well we will be embarking on a comprehensive study to see Richmond's needs in terms of higher education in the future."
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 41undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 17 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2008-10-29