An extremely slender 19-storey mixed-use building in downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighbourhood seeks to redefine the limits of wood construction. Designed by internationally renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and local firm Francl Architecture, the world’s tallest hybrid timber building will be wedged between the 28-storey Palladio and the 10-storey Evergreen Building.
Last month, local developer Port Living submitted a development application for the project at 1255 West Pender Street – a relatively small 8,258 square foot site.
Totalling 54,503 square feet of floor area, the 223-foot-tall (68 metres) building will have 20 residential units, retail space on the ground floor, and three levels of underground parking accessible from West Hastings Street.
The first 12 floors of the building will be constructed using traditional concrete and steel methods with balconies and the concrete facade aligned with the levels of the adjacent Evergreen Building designed by the late Arthur Erickson. The proponents have also contracted Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, the original landscape architect for the Evergreen Building, to mirror the landscaping work on the proposed building.
As for the top portion of the building, the remaining seven floors, a Mass Timber Structure design with a triangular shape has been proposed. While the exterior and floor plates will be constructed out of wood, these levels will still be supported by a concrete and steel core to meet local seismic building codes.
“The form of the upper portion of the building, above Evergreen, is triangular,” reads the design rationale by the proponents. “It is shaped to prevent casting new shadows on Coal Harbour Park and to maintain existing views from adjacent buildings. The north facing terraces it affords orient living spaces toward the waterfront, establishing a strong connection between our project and the harbour.”
1255 West Pender Street will mirror the adjacent Evergreen Building.
There will be a clear distinction between the concrete base and the upper wooden floors. All wood used for the project will be exclusively sourced locally from the province.
The municipal government’s Development Permit Board is scheduled to consider the project on October 17.
Over the past decade, there have been two other similarly-sized proposed designs for the project by W.T Leung Architects and IBI Group, but the projects failed to materialize due to the recession.
If approved, this will be the first Canadian project that Ban, the 2014 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, has undertaken. Whether it be for World’s Fair pavilion buildings or low-cost disaster relief housing, the architect is known for his use of wood and even paper as primary building materials in his designs.
Another major timber-based building currently being built in Metro Vancouver is the University of British Columbia’s 18-storey Tall Wood Building student residence. Upon completion in the summer of 2017, it will house 408 students and be the world’s tallest timber building.
Renderings of 1255 West Pender Street.