4/18/2012

Beach & Howe St. Tower; BIG- Bjarke Ingels Group


BIG's proposal, named after its location on the corner of Howe and Beach next to the Granville Street Bridge in downtown Vancouver, calls for a 600 residential unit 49-story tower, which will become the fourth tallest building in the city.  The tower rests on a nine-story commercial and retail base, offering market-rental housing.




The tower takes its shape after the site's complex urban conditions aiming to optimize the conditions for its future inhabitants in the air as well as on the street level.  At its base, the footprint of the tower is conditioned by concerns for two significant neighboring elements, including a 30-meter setback from the Granville Bridge which ensure that no residents will have windows and balconies in the middle of heavy traffic as well as concerns for sunlight to an adjacent park which limits how far south the building can be constructed.  As a result the footprint is restricted to a small triangle.



As the tower ascends, it clears the noise, exhaust, and visual invasion of the Granville Bridge.  BIG's design reclaims the lost area as the tower clears the zone of influence of the bridge, gradually cantilevering over the site.  This movement turns the inefficient triangle into an optimal rectangular floor plate, increasing the desirable spaces for living at its top, while freeing up a generous public space at its base.  The tower's podium is a mixed-use urban village with three triangular blocks that are composed of intimately-scaled spaces for working, shopping, and leisure which face onto public plazas and pathways.  The additional public space adds to the existing streets, giving the neighborhood a variety of open and covered outdoor spaces of various scales which transform the site under the Granville Bridge into a dynamic and iconic mixed-use neighborhood hub.




The courtyards created by the building volumes, roofs, and terraces are all designed to enhance views from the Granville Bridge and the residential units above.  The canted, triangular clusters of green roofs create a highly graphic and iconic gateway to an from the downtown core, reinforcing the City of Vancouver's focus on sustainable cities.  The exterior facades respond to the various solar exposures which is integral to the overall sustainability concept.  The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification.