Winnipeg Arts Council

heaven between

The Winnipeg Arts Council has envisioned artwork for Broadway for many years while the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has also worked for years toward creatively lighting the avenue. These two visions have come together in heaven between, the first permanent light-based sculpture for Broadway. Artist Bill Pechet notes that the dome shape of the new piece was inspired by the rooftops of significant buildings on the boulevard. Framed by the domes of the Legislative Building at one end of Broadway, and Union Station at the other, the artwork is patterned with cut out silhouettes of elm leaves. This intricate design casts light on the ground while reflecting the trees that line the street, planted over one hundred years ago by visionary city-makers.

With support from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

Thank you to suppliers  Parr Metal Fabricators; OB1 Contracting; Control Electric; Dyregrov Robinson Inc; Crosier, Kilgour & Partners SMS Engineering Scatliff + Miller + Murray for making this project a success.

heaven between speech by bill Pechet, opening reception, November 21, 2016:

"Thank you very much for such a warm reception.

This piece is called HEAVEN BETWEEN and many people have asked me where the title came from

… The title is really meant to be more of a question than an answer…

What does the word between mean?

Is this something between sky and ground?
Is it between light and dark?
night and day?

Is it between the legislature and the train station?

Or just something between 2 poles?

The answer is…all of those things and more!

Now, why HEAVEN ?

Across cultures, the sky above is often thought of as heaven,

and the sky-vault is often called a dome

this dome is a kind mandala made from elm leaves (these trees populate the boulevard) ….a reference to the idea that we can find depictions of heaven on earth, sometimes within the seemingly random shapes of tree branches and also through perfect geometries….so when one looks at the outside of the dome, the assumption is that the perforations are somewhat unorganized, yet when one passes underneath, and looks up into the centre,  they coalesce into a perfect radiating pattern

As you will see in a moment there is a candle-light within the dome

Across cultures, the eternal flame is a symbol of safety, warmth, and as a conduit to the dreamy world of meditation and spirituality

For me, the city of Winnipeg is a place with a very deep soul…my grandparents are buried here and, as I walk around I often sense the after-images of their stories and the city’s role as a place where people came and still DO come from all over the world to find some peace and a future for their families.

Particularly these days, with the upsetting condition of the political situation down south, we must remember that Winnipeg, founded by peoples from all over the world, does reinforce the idea that we can live together (…of course, it is not perfect, and there are lots of inequities evident, but at least we TRY)

So I wanted to give the city of Winnipeg a little piece of heaven to light a cold dark night or shade a hot summer’s day, to welcome everyone

Finally, the reason for lifting this artwork off the ground was in order to preserve the very beautiful long boulevard views on Broadway….one of the finest examples of urban design in Canada.

My wish is that this piece, this heaven between, becomes a well-loved thing AND space for the city of Winnipeg."

Bill Pechet

Bill received degrees in geography and visual arts from the University of Victoria, in 1979 and 1981 respectively. In 1982, after spending a year in Japan, he entered the School of Architecture at the University of British Columbia. In his second year, Bill attended a studies abroad program for architecture in Hong Kong and then spent a year living in Manila and Tokyo, working for Rengo Keikakusha on urban design projects for those cities.

Bill graduated from Architecture school in 1987 with a thesis project called "The Museum of Sand", a theoretical zone of touristic and therapeutic spaces set in the dense heart of Tokyo. This project spawned a series of small play gardens and domestic objects called "Souvenirs from the Museum of Sand" which he continues to produce today. Some of these objects have become manifest into larger scales in his designs for urban spaces, cemeteries and public art.

For almost 20 years Bill co-ran an art and design practice with Stephanie Robb, called Pechet and Robb art and architecture. Their studio represented Canada at the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture with a mammoth installation entitled SweaterLodge.

Bill's studio has developed an oeuvre of interests which synthesizes his love of geography, art , architecture, and urbanism. His portfolio of projects vary in scale from small domestic objects and furniture, to set design, public art, gardens, retail environments, residences, plazas, cemeteries, urban design and civic infrastructure.

Additionally, Bill teaches architecture at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. His classes reflect the scope of his interests, working with students on such varied subjects as material invention, the culture of construction, the architecture of public space, and the creative application of building practices into contemporary architecture and urbanism.

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