is available from Steller Press
and book stores
development team behind the Burrard Gateway towers continue to produce
further details of their proposed residential, office and retail
project on the Downtown Toyota site. A high building review is being
held for the 525 (or 550) foot version of the project, and a new
illustration has been posted which shows in greater detail the unusual
grid design of the tower.
April 20th 2011: The tower tripped at the first hurdle - on design and
sustainability. As a 'higher building' Burrard Gateway had to show
"architectural creativity and excellence, while making a significant
contribution to the beauty and visual power of the city’s
skyline". It also has to "demonstrate leadership and advances in
sustainable design and energy consumption". The City's Urban Design
Panel, with two guest experts from out of town, concluded that the
tower didn't quite make it on either front; as a result we anticipate a
The non-market housing projects in the South East False Creek area are
progressing well. First Place - an 11 storey project located at 1st
Avenue and Quebec Street is now at full height, and windows are being
installed. The design by GBL Architects Group shows another striking
building targetted for LEED Gold rating. Meanwhile a second site has
now been cleared on 2nd Avenue, where DYS Architecture's design for
another 11 storey building funded by BC Housing on a City of Vancouver
owned site. It should start to appear over the summer.
Several more of the non-market schemes in the Downtown are also nearing
completion - the most dramatic so far being the Abbott and Pender
street corner building also designed by GBL, with an extraordinary
Oxford Properties have just received a development permit for their
420' tall 35 storey office tower to squueze between the Marine Building
and the Guiness Tower. When we say squeeze, the model shows how
accurate this is - the University Club on the site will see its facade
preserved, and the tower soars above and around this feature. The
building will curve out slightly at the bottom, round at the sides, and
over the top (lit from inside). The design is from New York's Kohn
Pederson Fox, working with Musson Cattell Mackey of Vancouver.
On Granville Street, the first STIR Project is underway. STIR is Short
Term Incentive for Rental, and the 100 or so small rental units will be
at the south end of the Granville entertainment strip in a 10 storey
building. The 300 ton erratic boulder the builders hit when digging out
the basement floors have slowed progress a little, but the project,
designed by Chris Dikeakos, should be at ground level pretty soon.
Burrard Gateway, the two tall towers with an office block and car
dealership for Pattison Toyota (the current occupants of the Burrard
Street site) is moving slowly forward. The site is one of very few that
Council approved to have higher buildings - this is the 470 foot
version, but the designers, IBI/HB are going for over 500.
The Casino and hotel project planned for the western end of the BC
Place stadium (at least until it gets a new sponsorship name) is facing
multiple evenings of Public Hearing as Council hear the benefits and
problems of relocating the Edgewater Casino inland, tripling its size
in the process. Almost all the arguments are about the casino operation
and the potential problems associated with gambling. Almost no comment
has been made about the design from New York's Rockwell Group working
with local firm IBI/HB Update:
On April 19, 2011, City Council turned down the expanded casino
proposal, although they have left the door open for the existing casino
to relocate without expanding.
Cosmo, the fifth tower in the Spectrum development at Georgia and
Beatty is just about above street level. The site was originally
intended as non-market housing, but developer Concord negotiated a
complicated scheme to buy back the development rights in exchange for
land for non-market housing nearby. James K M Cheng's design will be
similar to the four existing towers, but lacking a coloured stripe.
Maddox, another project from the ubiquitous IBI/HB was approved by the
city's advisory Urban Design Panel and is now moving into marketing
mode. The 34 storey tower with a pattern of three colours of terra
cotta panels will replace the 'meanwhile' park that replaced the
Travelodge on Howe Street.
Aquilini Developments has proposed three towers to wrap the edges of
the Rogers Arena (still thought of by many as GM PLace). The designs by
Walter Francl pick up on the design of the first tower proposed here by
Busby Assocaites. This office use is still intended; the other two
towers would be residential.
The designs for the Terry Fox memorial replacement have been unveiled,
and have met with universal approval. Douglas Coupland's design
animates the famous 'hop step' that Terry showed with a series of
increasing sized sculptures, ending with a twice life size figure.
The worst-kept development secret in town has finally been
confirmed; Telus will build a half million square foot headquarters on
Georgia Street witha companion 44 storey residential tower to replace
their less-than-lovely parkade structure on Robson Street. In fact two
parkades disappear in this proposal, as the City will sell Telus their
Georgia Street parkade. Telus have partnered with developer Westbank,
who has brought in Henriquez Partners as designers. The intention is
for the office to reach Leed Platinum status; a first for a commercial
building in Canada. The Kingston Hotel will remain on Richards Street.
The Cecil Hotel - the bar where Greenpeace
was born and
more recently girls could be found wearing little more than a smile is
now being demolished to make way for the Rolston, a dramatic piece of
architecture behind one of the oldest buildings in this part of the
city, the Yale Hotel. The architecture is bold - the architect is more
elusive; Although various companies have been associated with the
design as it has evolved, the current credit goes to IBI/HB.
60 West Cordova (http://60wcordova.com/) promises to introduce
something interesting both architecturally and economically into the
Downtown Eastside. Rather than the high-end condos recently completed
at East, or the far from cheap Woodwards condos, this project (designed
and developed by Henriquez and Westbank who also created Woodwards)
will feature over 100 low-cost home ownership opportunities, with
various requirements to ensure that they go, initially at least, to
people living or working in he area. With significantly reduced parking
(to help affordability) and a fast turn round on the permit, the
project should appear in the vacant parking lot next to the Army
Navy store at an impresive rate, once it gets going.
House on Hastings Street has been topped out, and the curved glazed
facades are as dramatic as the artist's renderings suggested they would
as a rezoning (with
remarkably, nobody from the public to praise or condemn the dramatic
architecture), Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden's 18 storey project
features two eight storey 'legs' (one office, and one condo) with a 10
storey bridge link set at an angle between them. The scheme, if it
moves forward as rezoned, will be a dramatic intervention into the
northern arm of South East False Creek. HBBH in the meantime are now
merged and renamed 'Dialog'. Further schemes in the area are proposed
by Cressey and Bastion (whose 24 storey tower and reconstruction of
Opsal Steel has finally emeged).
Bastion Developments Opsal project has been approved for the block
between Quebec and Ontario on Second Ave. Portions of the iconic red
sheds will be preserved.
Two noteable pieces of art have recently appeared. A vase that was
intended to be an Olympic piece finally appeared under Cambie Bridge.
Paris based Chilean Tania Ruiz Gutierrez designed "Garde Temps" with
LED lights that respond to movement with a series of images
pre-programmed into the piece. On the Thurlow Street Plaza of the new
Convention Centre the author and artist Douglas Coupland's "Digital
Orca" offers a pixelated example of a classic west-coast icon, which
twinkles at night. Coupland will also be designing the replacement
artwork to acknowledge the life of Terry Fox to be installed on the
Plaza under the massive masts of the rapidly emeging new roof of BC
Good news, tinged with regret for a new major project in the Mount
Pleasant industrial area. A significant investment in a new electrical
sub-station will see a LEED Certified project on Alberta and West 6th
Avenue; the only down side is the sad loss of two of the remaining
heritage houses in the area (offered to be moved, but with no takers).