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Yaletown may welcome 3 new towers, all taller than 40-storeys




Posted by Mike Aynsley on Thursday, August 30, 2012


As noted on the Changing City blog, a portion of Vancouver’s skyline near the Granville Bridge will soon look quite different (while still adhering to Yaletown's glass and steel theme) in the near-ish future. To the east of the Seymour off-ramp, three tall towers are on the go:


At Seymour and Pacific is “The Mark,” a 41-storey residential tower slated for completion in 2013.




And then you have a 43-storey proposal, currently in the rezoning approval process, at the corner of Richards and Drake.



And the newest proposal in the area (forwarded to the city Aug. 16) is a 42-storey residential/rental tower at the corner of Pacific and Richards.




From the Changing City blog:


The new Richards proposal has 129 rental units in the 9-storey podium (along with a 37 space childcare) and 140 condo units in the tower. The design rationale explains that the angled tower is a result of only a very small part of the development not being affected by a viewcone that crosses the site. As a result the tower floorplates would be quite small – even for Vancouver.


That’s three towers, all more than 40-storeys tall, in one small area of downtown Vancouver.

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  • 5 months later...





Vancouver’s most distinctive tower project in a century got an enthusiastic endorsement from the city’s design panel this week.


That paves the way for an open house next week and public hearings later this year on plans for a striking set of buildings that panel member Peter Wreglesworth described on Wednesday as a “whole composition that is urban art.”




By the Granville Bridge, a tower with a difference

A new design flair warms Nordic hearts

Vancouver's skyline: high-rises versus snow-capped peaks



Video: Vancouver, the model city


The 497-foot tower, designed by the firm of Danish rock-star architect Bjarke Ingels, would rise from a narrow base next to the Granville Bridge and curve up and out for its 52 storeys.

In contrast to the glassy look that has become a Vancouver staple, the tower’s exterior would be covered with a lattice-work of bronze-trimmed balconies. Surrounding the tower at the bottom would be pie-shaped glass buildings – “prisms,” as some panel members called them – that fit into the crevices created by the bridge’s entry and exit ramps.


Those buildings would contain shopping, social housing and market rental apartments.


Mr. Wreglesworth, who is an architect, called the project an exciting mix that combines energy, grit, crispness, and light. Another architect, Mark Ostry, said it would “raise the benchmark for residential mixed-use development in the city.”


The project is unusual for Vancouver because of developer Ian Gillespie’s decision to hire a foreign architect as a way to add texture to a city that has been mostly designed by local architects.


Mr. Ingels, whose company recently opened an office in Beijing, has skyrocketed to fame in a short time with his playful and unusual designs.


It wasn’t just the buildings by his company, Bjarke Ingels Group, that attracted positive comments at the Vancouver panel. The plan to develop a Granville Island-like retail and public space around and under the bridge got as much attention.


The design team is looking at turning the road that runs directly below the bridge into a ceremonial street that could be used at times for festivals, markets and concerts, lined by wide terraced sidewalks.


Mr. Gillespie spent much of his time talking about the outdoor art gallery he wants to create.


In an illustration done for the panel, he showed a space where the underside of the bridge and the walls of the buildings on either side were covered with dramatic art photographs in light boxes.


Mr. Gillespie, who buys work from the city’s internationally acclaimed photo-conceptual artists, said he’d like to see the space used to showcase artwork that defines the city. “An outdoor art gallery would celebrate what Vancouver has developed an expertise in.”


The project still has several stages to go through before it is approved by the city, although it has jumped a major hurdle by getting urban design panel approval.


The project sits on one of the few sites in the city designated to allow “higher buildings.” As such, the team had to prove that the project would make “a significant contribution to the beauty and visual power of the city’s skyline.”


The panel, with one exception, agreed that it did.


The latest version of the design will be shown at an open house next week at which Mr. Ingels will be present. Then it has to go through public hearings.


It may benefit from the fact that the neighbourhood isn’t defined or established.


An advocacy group called CityHallWatch, which monitors developments, has already indicated concerns about the project.


The tower’s height, especially close to residential False Creek and the bridge entrance, is a problem, spokesman Randy Helten said. “The 497-foot height of such a building really only belongs in the central business district.”


But Mr. Helten, who became a vocal watchdog of development in response to proposals for new towers in the West End three years ago, acknowledged that many people in his neighbourhood aren’t paying much attention to the proposed tower because the site is on the fringe of the downtown’s residential area.


The city’s downtown business association, while generally favourable to new developments, also views it as outside its traditional boundary.


“It’s kind of a no man’s land there,” said Charles Gauthier, whose association represents many Granville Street businesses a couple of blocks away.


The project, which would bring 700,000 square feet of residential and commercial space to what has been the nondescript entry point to the downtown, would likely change all that.

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It is far from their most interesting project, although the site looks particularily challenging. I love the textured-look and the spiraling thin effect at the base of the tower, sort of like a vortex or tornado. I would love to see something BIG hit MTL, possibly in the QdS. I'm sure they would propose something really exciting for that area.


I generally love the BIG approach and their concepts. Their presentation videos are great!


Edited by IluvMTL
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Tres belles images ici:




LMN Architects wins first ever WAN Sustainable Building of the Year




Having considered all characteristics of its context to create an experience that integrates architecture with a new urban fabric, The Vancouver Convention Centre West in Vancouver by LMN Architects became the first ever winner of the WAN Sustainable Building of the Year Award. From the topography to the natural ecosystem and social involvement, The Vancouver Convention Centre West exhibits aspects of sustainability far beyond its commendable energy performance data.


All of our jurors agreed that in their decision they had taken a broad understanding of sustainability and were looking for a project which has in the words of Arup Associates co-group leader Michael Beaven, ‘taken community, people and environment, and contextualised that for architecture’. As the panel studied stunning images, impressive statistical data and eloquent diagrams, it became clear that The Vancouver Centre West stood out in the way that it comprehensively fulfilled this criteria.


The social relevance and longevity of the project was ensured by the extensive involvement of the community in the Convention Centre’s design process. The project’s continuity of engagement throughout the design to operational processes was examined and admired by the whole panel. Beaven noted that there was ‘a huge amount of engagement during the process which is important’. Jerry Tate, Principal of Jerry Tate Architects had further praise for the contextual process and overall success of the project, complimenting the ‘seriousness of intent’ which ultimately draws ‘a very positive social environment onto the waterfront’.


As a result of the design process, the social, economic and environmental context of the site is manifested in the origins of every aspect of the Vancouver Convention Centre West’s architecture, inside and out. Remote judge and Principal of Alan Ford Architects, Alan Ford recognised the success of the project as a ‘solution that integrates naturally into its environment’. For Michael Beaven it ‘demonstrates its rigour and engagement with all those (contextual) aspects and creates a building that is striking in its context at the edge of the city’.


Our panel was also enthusiastic about the adopted technologies and innovative techniques present in the design. These once again embraced and complimented the resources of the context. Michael Beaven recognised that it ‘seriously addressed biodiversity in the city which was particularly interesting on the edge of the river environment’.


The stated goal for the project was to ‘bring urban ecology to the downtown core’. Jerry Tate was taken by the single building and new urban district as ‘one of the most transformative schemes’. Chartered Architect and Environmental Designer Sophie Pelsmakers commented on the urgency of the project. Further compliments of ‘fun’ and ‘radical’ were thrown around as the innovative and transformative moves of the project maintained the intrigue of the whole panel.


‘Architecture of lifting the spirit, not just mechanistic way of addressing environmentalism in architectural design’, mused Michael Beaven. For our panel of experts, The Vancouver Convention Centre West in Vancouver by LMN Architects is an exemplary display of environmental architecture which had them enthusiastic for the future of sustainability in architecture. Michael Beaven acknowledged the success of the project and its wider message, concluding ‘for people, for environment, for culture, for cities…it’s a much more serious message about architecture and its place in building cities and the sustainable aspects of them’.


Congratulations to LMN Architects - the first ever winners of the WAN Sustainable Building of the Year Award!

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For having visiting many times most capitals in the country, Vancouver is really the only city where I will move. But, there is a big problem: the rain. It gets to you after a while.

It will be nice if one day a huge tower(70 floors) in Montreal becomes an exquisite piece of architecture that takes your breath away. Since the PQ is in power, why don't they order Hydro-Quebec to build something significant downtown to bring all their employes together. Oh! I forgot that they were in an attrition mode ... As for the curious builging, I wonder how much it will swing with a 7,1 quake. I, for one, will hate to be in the top floor ....

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