MERGE Lynnmour Sound Wall
Early this year, Lynnmour in North Vancouver obtained a highly absorbing aluminium noise barrier that protects residents and a school located next to the Trans-Canada Highway. The public work of art has been inspired by nature.
The Trans-Canada Highway running from Canada’s western (Pacific) coast to the Atlantic coast of eastern Canada is the country’s only transcontinental road link and a much travelled highway. The attendant noise is combatted by noise-fighting knowhow from Austria. As a double bonus, the wall introduces even more colours to Canada.
The shimmering colours are the work of First Nations artist Rebecca Bayer. Her public art project MERGE combines the colours of the local flora and fauna with the region’s landmarks: banana slug, black bear, spiny wood fern plus Mount Seymour, a prominent mountain to the north of Vancouver in British Columbia. The colourful powder-coated aluminium panels make up a gigantic work of public art based on regional references, a spectrum designed to be viewed by both passing traffic and residents in nearby communities.
The powder-coated elements effectively absorb the noise rather than just reflecting it. Altogether Forster supplied 1,250 square metres in 20 colours, all panels in anti-graffiti quality.
The sound wall along the Trans-Canada Highway is part of the Lower Lynn Improvements project, a major infrastructure project in the region at a cost of 200m Canadian dollars, which includes two further noise screening projects. This specific project also involved repairing and enlarging the arched bridge of the highway, and fitting its outer face with aluminium elements and transparent noise screens. The aluminium components exactly match the bridge in their colouring, thus becoming serenely embedded in the overall concept and opening up a view of the natural beauties of Canada.
At Lynn Creek, the infrastructure project features another sound wall whose aluminium panels are imprinted with 28 motifs. Similarly, highly absorbent, the wall covers 350 square metres. Designed by two indigenous artists, Aaron Nelson-Moody, a carver, and Angela George, a weaver, the motifs refer to the culture of the Coast Salish of western Canada. The wall, named “Ncheˊmˊus” (Coming Together), is designed to mirror the stories of the land and its indigenous peoples: “You are asked to witness the stories of our lands and waters”. The weave patterns and paintings of the two artists and the words of First Nations members give highway users access to ancient oral knowledge, aiming to bring people together.