Many thanks to Brent Richter and Mike Wakefield from the North Shore News for this article about ‘MERGE’ #mergesoundwall.
“For too long, it’s been a traffic jam through a construction site. But the bottom of The Cut is taking on a whole new look.
Artist Rebecca Bayer is putting the final touches on Merge, a 366-metre-long shock of colour stretching along Highway 1 between Mountain Highway and Fern Street.
It is one of the final pieces of the $200-million Lower Lynn Improvement Project, intended to shield the Inter River neighbourhood from highway noise. But it’s also now likely the largest single piece of public art on the North Shore.
“An acoustic barrier wall could be very mundane and boring, but my hope with the bright colours is that it is more interesting and vibrant from both sides. It can be experienced at a slow pace, but also a fairly quick pace if you’re driving along the highway, and it sort of blurs together as you drive by,” she said. “I get pretty excited by public art that really blends with the infrastructure or architecture, and it just becomes part of something that was already going to be there anyway.”
Bayer chose the 20 different colours specifically because they are found in the flora, fauna and landmarks from the Lynn Valley area. Bayer consulted with the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre to match colours with individual species like the red-backed salamander, Pacific chorus frog and licorice fern. She then tried out different permutations to come up with the pattern that exists there today. “There is quite an amazing pocket of nature right there,” she said. “It made sense to try to work with the natural palette in some way.”
On the Inter River side, the names of the species appear on some panels, which Bayer said she hopes will enable Merge to educate as well as beautify.
Lori Phillips, the District of North Vancouver’s public art officer who helped in the selection process of Bayer for the project, said it does both. “Merge is a perfect example of the magic that can happen when artists are added to infrastructure projects. Suddenly a rather understated sound wall is transformed into a dynamic public artwork that is free and accessible for everyone to enjoy,” she said. “The District of North Vancouver’s public art program, was thrilled to partner with the [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] on this project and we know that the residents of Lynnmour, along with the thousands of daily commuters and travellers on Highway 1 will enjoy its masterful merge of colour and story, for years to come.”
Even as sound barriers/art canvasses go, the panels are a “world-class sound attenuation product” designed to neutralize sound, not just bounce it away from residences, said Mark Hersey, managing partner of Solid Rock Fencing, the company contracted to install the 623 panels.
Today, there are just a few gaps in the wall, which will be filled when the final panels arrive from Europe, Hersey said.
The final components of the Lower Lynn Improvement Project, including combining the Main Street and Dollarton Highway on-ramps into one with signalized traffic control, are expected to come online later this fall.”
Special thanks on this project go out to:
Jay Porter, BC Transportation and Infrastructure
Erin Moxton, North Vancouver District
Lori Phillips, North Vancouver Recreation & Culture
Tamsin Guppy, Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre
Rainer Kraft, KCI Kraft Consulting Inc.
Mark Hersey and Jason Hardy, Solid Rock Fencing Ltd.
MERGE (2021) Rebecca Bayer, 356m x 4m, Powder-coated Aluminum Acoustic Panels,
Trans-Canada Highway @ Keith Road, Lynnmour, District of North Vancouver, territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations
It’s been another productive week at MERGE. We want to offer a special thanks to Mark Hersey, Jason Hardy and the team from Solid Rock Fencing for their special attention to detail and careful installation of the 623 colourful acoustic panels. This project is starting to transform the landscape and has already made a huge difference in reducing the traffic noise level in the neighbouring Lynnmour community.
It is all coming together very nicely and everyone is excited to see the wall complete in the next few weeks.
MERGE (Lynnmour Sound Wall – 2021), will feature twenty naturalistic colours which represent a selection of local flora, fauna and landmarks specific to the Lynnmour community and area. Merge stands at 4m tall and spans 356m along the newly reconfigured section of the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) between Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing and Lynn Creek. The acoustic dampening, sound wall sits between the highway and the residential neighbourhood along Keith Road and is clad in colourful powder-coated aluminum panels. The panels have been carefully configured to produce a giant, site-specific spectrum designed to be viewed by both passing traffic and residents in nearby communities.
Spacemakeplace is celebrating five years since the installation of ‘Whereness’. Located near the Langara /49th Avenue Canada Line Station, ‘Whereness’ was commissioned by Mosaic Homes for the City of Vancouver Public Art Program in 2016.
‘Whereness’ provides a tactile link between the area’s geological past and its current condition. The bottom boulder of the sculpture is a granite glacial erratic, deposited at this address thousands of years ago as a huge ice sheet receded up the Fraser Valley. This very boulder was scanned and replicated six times, then stacked to form a visual puzzle.
The sculpture acknowledges the practice of piling rocks at certain points along pathways to guide travellers crossing the landscape. This simple custom is still common across cultures around the world.
On the anniversary of our COVID-19 life, we want to share some feel good news from 2020. With proceeds from the sale of “Come Together” (2020), we were able to donate back to the St. James Town Community Corner, near TTC Sherbourne subway station. “Come Together” is a bespoke, glazed ceramic tile mosaic (0.6m x 2.0m) commissioned by Louis Vuitton.
“Come Together” (2020) glazed ceramic tile mosaic (0.6m x 2.0m) Louis Vuitton. Yorkdale, Toronto.
The St. James Town Community Corner was one of the hosts to the original community pattern-making workshops that Spacemakeplace held in 2018 to gather pattern inspiration for the TTC mosaic. The donation from Spacemakeplace will be used in a program that offers employment to local refugee women to prepare meals for the elderly and vulnerable in the community over the COVID-19 crisis.
Store designers for Louis Vuitton contacted Rebecca last spring interested in acquiring a new work to be included in the Louis Vuitton international art collection. “Come Together” (2020) is displayed alongside new artworks by Toronto-based street artist BirdO, and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, at the new Louis Vuitton Canadian flagship store located in Yorkdale Mall, Toronto.
Thanks to FORSTER and Rainer Kraft from Kraft Consulting for their recent photos of the colourful acoustic panels that have now been fabricated at Forster’s factory in Waidhofen, Austria. Later this summer (2021) these panels will be installed along side 356m of Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) between Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing and Lynn Creek in the District of North Vancouver.
The public artwork, MERGE, will feature twenty naturalistic colours representing a selection of local flora, fauna and landmarks specific to the Lynnmour community and area. The ~620 powder-coated aluminum panels have been carefully configured to produce a giant site-specific spectrum designed to be viewed by both passing traffic and residents in nearby communities.
The 39 mosaic panels are complete! A huge thank you again to Mike Hauner and the whole team at Interstyle Ceramic + Glass for their help and expertise. We look forward to working with them again soon.
Loaded onto a pallet for transportation to TTC Sherbourne the artwork weighs in at 1500 lbs.
Archiving spare tiles in the tile vault
The production of the Sherbourne Community Mosaic panels has gone really well and we have now nearly completed the fabrication phase of the project.
The design of each panel was created by blending together different geometric patterns that we collected from around the Toronto’s Sherbourne community over three weeks in March and April, 2018.
We are very grateful to the ~450 people of all ages (who live, work and go to school within a 5-10 min walk of TTC Sherbourne station) for participating at one or more of the 24 pattern-making workshops. Over 700 amazing triangular tile patterns were contributed to the project – Thank you everyone!
You can find a photo of every pattern on the Sherbourne Community Mosaic Facebook page. ‘Like’ the page to get future project updates.
Approximately 14,000 equilateral triangle ceramic tiles are needed for the Sherbourne Community Mosaic and each one has been hand-made from Earthenglass™, a blend of 100% recycled glass with clay and porcelain.
Twelve different colours of tiles have been specially crafted for this project. These colours were inspired by the paint palette of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson, who at one time had his studio in the Rosedale Ravine, near TTC Sherbourne before the station existed.
Each of the thirty-nine Sherbourne Community Mosaic panels has been fabricated and will be installed in smaller sections. The mosaic panels will be located throughout TTC Sherbourne and cover a total of 400 square feet.
There are up to forty-eight tiles in a section and each tile is laid by hand. We use a template to help copy from the original designs and a special jig that spaces the tiles evenly.
The tiles at the top and bottom rows of each panel are cut in half with a wet saw so that they will fit square.
After each section is face-taped together, it is given an identifying number that references a map of each panel.
The final stage of the fabrication is to carefully pack each section into boxes ready for transport to TTC Sherbourne for installation.
We give our special thanks to Judy Bayer for her generous support. Her hard work, helping to count tiles and piece the panels together, has been greatly appreciated!
The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic public artwork has been commissioned by the Toronto Transit Commission as part of the Easier Access and Second Exit Program.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been completing the fabrication of the approximately 14,000 custom ceramic tiles needed for the Sherbourne Community Mosaic. The final artwork, to be located throughout Toronto’s TTC Sherbourne station, will total 400 square feet in area. The equilateral triangle tiles are hand-made from Earthenglass™, a blend of 100% recycled glass with clay and porcelain and are produced by Interstyle Ceramic + Glass in Burnaby, BC.
We’ve developed 12 bespoke colours for the mosaic tiles that have been inspired by the paint palette of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson.
Thomson once had a studio in the Toronto neighbourhood where the mosaic will be located.
After the tile bisque has been fired once in the kiln the coloured glazes are carefully sprayed onto the triangles. The tiles are weighed to ensure the correct amount of glazing has been applied.
The glazed tile bisque is loaded onto trays ready to be feed into the giant kiln
The giant kiln.
Even though they look delicious these tasty treats are not for eating.
Grey and Red tiles lined up to get fired.
The glazed bisque tiles are then re-fired in the kiln at temperatures over 1,200 degrees Celsius – that’s HOT!!!
The beautiful new ceramic tiles are now ready to be assembled into the Sherbourne Community Mosaic!
Mike Hauner, Partner at Interstyle Ceramic + Glass presenting the first batch of tile bisque.
After months of planning, the Sherbourne Community Mosaic has entered the fabrication phase. The 39 mosaic panels that will form the Sherbourne Community Mosaic will cover 400SF of the TTC Sherbourne Station.
The approximately 14,000 custom ceramic tiles are being produced in Canada by Interstyle Ceramic + Glass in Burnaby, BC. The equilateral triangle tiles are hand-made from Earthenglass™, a blend of 100% recycled glass with clay and porcelain.
In partnership with Interstyle Ceramic + Glass we’ve developed 12 bespoke colours that have been inspired by the paint palette of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson. Thomson once had a studio in the Toronto neighbourhood where the mosaic will be located. The 12 colour glazes match the coloured cardboard tiles that we used in the Sherbourne Community Mosaic pattern-making workshop series held around TTC Sherbourne in April.
To make the tile bisque the clay mix is rolled flat and then cut into equilateral triangles using a custom die.
Unglazed tile bisque.
Inspecting the freshly baked tile bisque.
Custom colour test samples in the glazing ‘kitchen’.
Interstyle Ceramic + Glass, Burnaby, B.C. Canada.
The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic will use a set of 12 colours that are inspired by the palette of iconic Canadian painter, Tom Thomson.
Colour testing by Interstyle Ceramic & Glass of the twelve colours chosen for the TTC Sherbourne Community Mosaic
Thomas John Thomson, painter (born 5 August 1877 in Claremont, ON; died 8 July 1917 in Algonquin Provincial Park, ON). An early inspiration for what became The Group of Seven, Tom Thomson was one of the most influential and enduringly popular Canadian artists of the early part of the twentieth century. His paintings The West Wind (1917) and Jack Pine (1916-1917) are familiar Canadian icons. Thomson was a master colourist.
Thomson was one of the first artists in residence at the Studio Building, located at 25 Severn Street, in the Rosedale ravine immediately east of the above-ground Ellis portal that brings subway trains into and out of the north end of the Bloor-Yonge subway station, a short walking distance from Sherbourne Station. His studio’s site and positioning takes advantage of the northern exposure that illuminates the artist’s canvas with very even, neutral light. Completed in 1914, the nonprofit facility was financed by Lawren Harris, heir to the Massey-Harris farm machinery fortune, and Dr James MacCallum.
Thomson would spend the summers in Algonquin Park and winter at the Studio Building in a refurbished a workmen’s shed on the east side of the building that MacCallum had converted so Thomson could work in an environment closer to his beloved wilderness settings.
Over three weeks in March and April, 2018, we led 24 community pattern-making workshops at seven different venues located within a 5-10 min walking radius of TTC Sherbourne Station. We met with approximately 450 local community members, from kindergarten children to senior citizens, who contributed over 700 unique triangle patterns to this public art project. We are amazed!
Check out all of the pattern design galleries on the Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic Facebook page!
After a brief introduction to the project, participants were invited to create their own triangular patterns by arranging colourful cardboard tiles on special templates. Twelve different colours reference the bold palette of Tom Thomson, a famous Canadian painter who once had a studio in the nearby Rosedale Ravine. When completed, every pattern was photographed and catalogued, and the individual or group of artists were given the opportunity to provide their name to be included on the public artwork plaque as a contributor.
Later this year, ceramic tile mosaics will be installed at multiple locations around TTC Sherbourne Station. The mosaics will be assembled from custom-made tiles, manufactured in Canada from recycled glass. Each tile will be twice as large as the cardboard tiles used in the workshops.
The final mosaic pieces will be inspired by the patterns collected from community members. Parts of individual patterns will be woven together to form new and complex patterns representing the creativity and interconnectivity of the local community.
We greatly appreciate the hospitality, enthusiasm and support that we have received. We would like to give special thanks to those who assisted in hosting the workshops: David Crichton, Rose Avenue Junior Public School; Shabana Sohail, Community Matters Toronto; Simon Storey, Rosedale Junior Public School; Allyson Payne, Branksome Hall School; Suja Selvaraj, St. James Town Community Corner; Suzanne Fernando, Toronto Public Library – St James Town Branch; Rick Lee, Wellesley Community Centre; Jaymie Sampa, 519 Space for Change. Individual pattern-making participants will be acknowledged on a plaque that will be located near the station entrance.
The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic public artwork has been commissioned by the Toronto Transit Commission as part of the Easier Access and Second Exit Program.
On March 1, 2018 we were delighted to attend the Grand Opening Ceremony for the new Edmonton Public Library’s Calder Branch. It has been three years since our proposal to create the Calder Community Mosaic was selected by the Edmonton Arts Council to become a piece of public art to be integrated with the architecture of this new construction.
Representatives from the City of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta, Edmonton Public Library Board of Trustees, Six Nation Elders, the Edmonton Arts Council and the people of all ages from the local community gathered for dedication speeches, ribbon cutting (complete with over-sized scissors) and a special Calder Branch cake.
We were very pleased to present the Library with copies of the book publication that we had prepared that describes the community participation in the Calder Community Mosaic and how it was created and installed. Please ask the branch librarian if you would like to see a copy.