Kengo Kuma's 40-storey 'carved tower' in downtown Vancouver

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Kenneth Chan Nov 14, 2015 10:07 am

Another architectural gem proposed for the Georgia Street corridor in downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood could help shake off Vancouver’s reputation of having an urban jungle of bland architecture.

Artistic renderings obtained by Vancity Buzz from Westbank Projects Corporation provide a first look at the design of an impressive tower at 1550 Alberni Street that was first revealed to the public during a neighbourhood event in late-June.

Renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has designed a slender 40-storey residential tower for the site, which was purchased by Westbank earlier this year at a cost of $47 million.

‘Carved deductions’ are one of the tower’s most prominent proposed architectural features, with the building’s sections hollowed out on the lower half of the northeast corner and upper half of the southwest corner.

The facade of the tower will be just as striking with the use of a combination of glass and polished anodized aluminum that will provide the structure with an almost chequered appearance.

A total of 188 residential units are proposed for the building, with many units within the carved deductions possessing substantially sized patios or what project proponents have termed as ‘open gardens’. Interior materials will include the heavy use of wood and bamboo.

Retail space and a restaurant will be located at the tower’s foot, along with a highly unique public amenity – a ground-level Japanese moss garden within a hollowed section of the building, with water and natural features built along the face of an amphitheatre-like, cascading plateau.

A rezoning application will be submitted this fall, with the public consultation process beginning shortly after. The scale and concept of the tower follows the City’s view cone policy and recently approved West End Community Plan.

The developer is behind a number of other major local projects including Shangri-La Vancouver, Shaw Tower, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Woodward’s, Telus Garden and the Oakridge Centre redevelopment.

At least three other architecturally unique towers are planned for the area near the intersection of West Georgia and Nicola streets.

Bosa Properties’ plans to construct two towers in the immediate vicinity: a 51-storey, 500-foot-tall Jenga-like residential tower at 1500 West Georgia and a scaly 26-storey tower at thenortheast corner of West Georgia and Cardero streets.

According to Westbank, a 50-storey tower designed by local architect James Cheng is also planned for a flatiron-like development site at 1445 West Georgia Street. The design for this tower has not been revealed at this time.

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation


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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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