Using architecture to step out of Vancouver's shadow, the new Surrey City Hall and Plaza embodies the futurism and innovation the city wants to project to its residents. The LEED Gold building provides the municipal government with a permanent and sustainable home, as the city shapes its developing image around transparency and urbanism. Where some civic centres are overwhelming in scale and presence, Surrey City Hall expresses openness, with enhanced circulation routes and landscaping serving as a welcome mat for visitors.

Surrey City Hall under construction in September 2012, image by Flickr user Reg Natarajan via Creative Commons

Designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Kasian, the predominantly glazed structure befits the city's nascent downtown. An exterior system of sunshades and limited windows on the west facade control the entrance and impact of natural sunlight.

Surrey City Hall construction in September 2013, image by Flickr user waferboard via Creative Commons

Circulation corridors are organized around the centre of the building, resulting in perimeter office space featuring workstations within steps of operable windows. A precast concrete wall on the west facade emphasizes the depth of the building, and in an Arthur Erickson-like move, vegetation assists in softening the appearance. 

Surrey City Hall completed, image by Flickr user Jeff Hitchcock via Creative Commons

The 16,500-square-metre building is punctured by a large light-filled atrium. The exterior rooftop is defined by an extruding canopy lined with warm wood paneling. Together with the adjacent Surrey Central Library, the civic landmark draws a progressive map for the city on a site previously dominated by the quintessential stamps of suburbia: parking lots and auto shops.

Surrey City Hall completed, image by Flickr user Jeff Hitchcock via Creative Commons

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