19-storey Passive House residential tower envisioned near Marine Drive Station

Jun 21 2021, 7:05 pm

A significant Passive House green building in the form of a residential tower is envisioned for a site just a five-minute walk from SkyTrain’s Marine Drive Station in South Vancouver.

The design concept by European architectural firm Urban Agency replaces six single-family homes at 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue — immediately east of Francophone school Ecole des Colibris and Ash Park — for a 19-storey tower.

The tower, named “Vancouver Forest,” is said to take inspiration from the region’s natural landscapes.

There are a series of stepped terraces at the south side of the tower to provide the homes with ample patio spaces and exposure to sunlight. The building’s corners are curved to soften its appearance, and trees and landscaping on the patios and terraces complement the warmth and texture of the timber facade.

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 65th Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the Passive House residential tower concept for 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue, Vancouver. (Urban Agency)

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 65th Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the Passive House residential tower concept for 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue, Vancouver. (Urban Agency)

According to the architect, the design’s use of a bamboo-clad, cross-laminated timber frame construction method takes advantage of the sustainable and durable use of bamboo as a material.

Bamboo has a similar tensile strength to steel but is lightweight and more sustainable than timber for harvesting, as it grows 15 times faster than traditional lumber.

The facade of the tower also has an alternating pattern of windows and cladding that serves to improve thermal insulation to align with Passive House standards.

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 65th Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the Passive House residential tower concept for 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue, Vancouver. (Urban Agency)

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 65th Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the Passive House residential tower concept for 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver. (Urban Agency)

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 65th Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the Passive House residential tower concept for 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue, Vancouver. (Urban Agency)

Furthermore, the tower enhances the area’s public realm and connectivity by creating a three-storey-high outdoor corridor through the east-west axis of the structure between Lord Street and the laneway to the east.

Altogether, Vancouver Forest would contain approximately 200 homes and 43,000 sq ft of “community space.”

This proposal is currently in the pre-application stage; no formal application has been submitted to the municipal government at this time.

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 65th Avenue Vancouver

Site of 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

8120-8168 Lord Street 540 West 6th Avenue Vancouver Passive House

Site of 8120-8168 Lord Street and 540 West 65th Avenue, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

As currently envisioned, the project exceeds the allowances for this specific transit-oriented site established in the municipal government’s Cambie Corridor Plan (CCP). It permits a building of up to 12 storeys if 100% of the residential floor area is secured rental housing — with a minimum of 20% as below-market rental housing — for a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 3.5 times larger than the size of the lot.

The CCP also stipulates a single taller mid-rise building must be located approximately mid-block, shadowing should be minimized on the adjacent school park, and floor plates above the podium should not exceed an average of 6,500 sq ft.

Urban Agency’s headquarters offices are located in Copenhagen, Dublin, and Lyon. The Dominion residential building complex in Calgary is currently one of its largest projects undergoing construction.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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