Construction on Kengo Kuma tower in downtown Vancouver tops out (PHOTOS)

Jan 21 2022, 11:28 pm

The first of a growing wave of starchitect-designed towers on the border of the West End and Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver recently topped out.

Construction crews have reached the milestone of pouring the top concrete floor plate of Westbank’s Alberni by Kengo Kuma tower at 1550 Alberni Street, according to project contractor Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers.

At 443 ft with 44 storeys, the upscale residential tower is not an overall standout in height (ranked 19th tallest in downtown, just behind Telus Garden) in the overall downtown skyline, but it does add a new peak to the Coal Harbour/West End portion of the skyline where the elevation and existing towers are lower.

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver construction

December 2021: construction progress on Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Sky Hive/Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver construction

December 2021: construction progress on Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Sky Hive/Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver construction

December 2021: construction progress on Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Sky Hive/Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers)

More importantly, the Alberni tower is a standout for its highly unconventional design by world renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is well known for incorporating wood materials. This is his first residential tower design in North America.

The tower is visually defined by its two large scoops that create deep balconies, which are furnished in wood.

“The carvings create semi-enclosures that strengthen their relations to the street and its urban and geographic context while optimizing neighbouring views past the project,” reads the design description.

“The tower is carved in such a way that its silhouette constantly changes, creating illusionary profiles of arching cantilevers. The reality is far more structured as the carved deductions are diagonally symmetrical, the lower portion helps to counterbalance the hanging volume above.”

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver construction

December 2021: construction progress on Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Sky Hive/Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver construction

December 2021: construction progress on Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Sky Hive/Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver construction

January 2022: construction progress on Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

When fully complete, the lower section of the tower will be particularly striking, where a hollowed section of the building, formed under high-ceiling arching structures, provide cover for an extensive Japanese-inspired moss garden, with other natural and water features — built along the face of an amphitheatre-like cascading plateau.

The bamboo used for a “forest” along the garden’s perimeter areas was grown in Oregon, before being transported to Vancouver for on-site planting work.

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Ground floor and covered public outdoor garden plans for Alberni by Kengo Kuma. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (Kengo Kuma/Westbank)

 

This covered outdoor garden provides the area with a highly unique public space, which will be further activated by both the residential lobby entrance, and over 5,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space on the Cardero Street frontage.

Above the commercial space, residents of the tower’s 188 homes will have access to an expansive swimming pool, placed within a volume of the lower tower’s arches. The tower’s total floor area is about 272,000 sq ft.

Alberni by Kengo Kuma is expected to reach completion by the end of 2022.

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Alberni by Kengo Kuma 1550 Alberni Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of Alberni by Kengo Kuma at 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Westbank)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ Architecture & Design
+ Development
+ Urbanized
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