City draws up 'iconic' guidelines

Not satisfied with the dictionary definition, New Westminster has drawn up guidelines defining "iconic" for potential high rise developers.

The city would like to see "iconic towers" in key places such as the western entrance to Downtown New Westminster and the eastern entrance to the city from Highway 1.

It would also be a desirable component for buildings that will be visibly higher than neighbouring buildings such as the recently proposed Larco towers at 660 Quayside Dr. on the New West river front.

A staff report from acting planning manager Jackie Teed said the tallest buildings in the city should be Downtown, but the policy would apply to all tall buildings in New Westminster.

The report said the buildings should be visible from a distance, although shorter towers can be included if they are visibly prominent to those entering the city.

"They have unique architectural elements, which are often expressed strongly at the top of the building. The best iconic buildings also provide visual interest and functionality at the ground level where they interface with people on the street and entering the buildings. Iconic buildings use quality materials in elegant and tasteful, although often unique or surprising ways," wrote Teed.

The proposed principles include a form that is slender, sleek and clean, have a modern character that would enhance the heritage character of the city, and have features at the base such as fountains to complement and enhance the tower's design.

Council has approved the guidelines in principle, and staff will work on presenting them to the city's design panel for feedback at their first meeting in 2014.

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