The design of the planned redevelopment of Oakridge Centre is said to draw inspiration from medieval towns like San Gimignano, Italy, and it will become a hilltop town or “micro city” with a skyline of its own.
That is how the proponents of the redevelopment described the project in their recent development application to the City of Vancouver. A rezoning proposal for the project was previously approved in 2014, and construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this year.
Quadreal Property Group and Westbank’s redevelopment of Oakridge Centre will be the single largest redevelopment in the city’s history when both construction phases are complete in 2025.
At the same time, the 28.5-acre redevelopment will carry the same highly modernistic architectural flair that is found in Asian centres like Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
The project’s design is a multinational endeavour comprised of Vancouver-based Henriquez Partners Architects and PFS, Tokyo-based interior design firm Wonderwall, San Francisco-based Gensler, and Toronto-based Adamson Associates Architects.
Here is the design team’s design rationale for the project:
The resulting concept is a modern street oriented urban experience that integrates nature and topography to create an organic expression of architecture emerging from the landscape. The genesis of the design narrative begins by reintroducing the lost first growth forest displaced by the original mall and then sculpts new retail street walls to define the perimeter of the site and the high street within, knitting together the surrounding urban fabric. Into this new landscape are sculpted retail gallerias and public rooms which emerge and define the edges of the park above. From this foundation of parks and plazas, office and residential towers terrace upward out of the landscape and are capped by iconic towers marking gateways, capturing views in all directions.
The Oakridge visitors will be citizens in a new organic micro city connected to both downtown to the north and the airport to the south by rapid transit, inhabiting one the most meaningful sustainable models of suburban mall redevelopments in the world.
New towers on the site will reach a height of up to 435 ft, as approved in the 2014 rezoning, with the tallest tower located near the corner of the intersection of West 41st Avenue and Cambie Street.
There will be 2,548 homes, including 1,968 market housing units, 290 social housing units, and 290 rental housing units.
The shopping centre’s retail space will rise from 740,000 sq. ft. to about 1.4 million sq. ft., and nearly 290,000 sq. ft. of office space will be built within the lower podium levels of the towers.
As for public amenities, there is a 100,000-sq-ft community centre and a nine-acre rooftop public park over the new shopping mall. The design of this park was approved by the Vancouver Park Board earlier this summer.
Approximately 6,000 vehicle parking stalls are planned, which is less parking than a project of its density and size as it takes into consideration its location next to a Canada Line station and the the new 41st Avenue B-Line.
The project proponents are envisioning major improvements to the station’s entrance and capacity, including a dramatic glass canopy covering the spans from the median to the shopping mall entrance – covering the entire plaza and the station entrance.
Early this year, Westbank and Quadreal unveiled the project’s new design and reaffirmed its continuation.