Richmond City Hall

Award-winning civic complex

Civic & Culture

Richmond City Hall is comprised of four major building components, creating an ensemble of public spaces. The major conceptual theme for this project was driven by the fact that the city of Richmond is an island community. Water features significantly into the design, while the berms around the site are representative of the dikes that protect this low-lying island. The complex has been designed to ensure that the public will recognize City Hall as an inviting and accessible public resource. The building also provides an effective office environment to enhance the ability of its staff to carry out City business, serving the public as “customers.”

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Richmond, BC
120,000 sq ft
City of Richmond

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg

DIALOG Services


City Hall includes a nine-storey administrative office building.

The building is impressive from the street.

Landscaping is carefully integrated into the building design. The berms that define the west and north edges of the site are reflective of the dikes that surround the island city of Richmond.

The water feature is an important part of the expression of Richmond as an island city.

Strong angular lines from the different building elements tie them together.

The building used glulam timbers as an extension of contemporary West Coast design language. The design extends the strong expression of the timber structure from the interior through to the exterior.

The formal front entry to the building serves as a ceremonial entrance to this important civic building.

The galleria is the primary organizing element of the Meeting House, and acts as a community living room.

The heavy timber structure was strongly expressed both on the interior and the exterior of the galleria.

This area is the front of house, essentially the customer service centre, which was a relatively new concept for municipal halls at the time.

Different types of wood were featured and used to perform a variety of functions – structural, acoustical and aesthetic, with durability considerations as well.

The tilted timber frames provide an interesting contrast to the straight horizontal and vertical concrete and steel elements.

The council chamber embraces the use of multiple species of wood, performing multiple functions, giving a warmth and sense of dignity to the space.

The council chamber was configured in a circular form and designed to feel both intimate and yet have a significant capacity for larger audiences when required.

This photo demonstrates the relationship of the public galleria to the main outdoor gathering space.

This photo illustrates the careful integration of the building and landscape.

The Team

Original watercolour sketch of the formal ceremonial entrance of City Hall.

Original watercolour sketch of the galleria at City Hall.

Original watercolour sketch of the view from the main street intersection. It prominently features the water feature as well as the circular form of the council chamber in front of the administration building, expressing the concept of the island city of Richmond.

Original watercolour sketch illustrating the arbour structure that is situated between the surface parking lot (visitor parking) and the remainder of the site including the main public outdoor gathering space and the building. It takes up the elevation change between the surrounding site and the elevated ground floor of the building, required due to flood construction level requirements.

Original watercolour sketch of City Hall showing mature landscaping on sloped berms. The sloped berms are part of the concept of the island city and the dikes that protect the island.


1998 Award of MeritCanadian Architect
2002 Governor General’s Medal in ArchitectureRoyal Architectural Institute of Canada
2001 Lieutenant–Governor of British Columbia Merit AwardArchitectural Institute of British Columbia
2001 International Illumination Design Award, BC SectionInternational Illumination Design
2000 Award of ExcellenceVancouver Regional Construction Association