The interior design of a penthouse at Vancouver House is a complete departure from the overall concept of the tower.
The homeowner of a two-storey, two-bedroom penthouse on the northwest side of the tower contracted Leckie Studio Architecture and Design for a custom-designed interior centred around an atrium — a “skygarden” that is exposed to the elements, with a concept that represents a “living microcosm” of the rainforest.
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A full-size red cedar tree is the centrepiece of this atrium, with the ecosystem around the tree sustained over the long term by a “nurse” log that replenishes the space from decay nutrients, according to a backgrounder.
The atrium punctures through both floors of the unit from the private rooftop terrace, and the interior spaces, including the office, living room, and study look onto the atrium’s glass walls. As well, the atrium serves other purposes of providing additional natural light and ventilation for the interior spaces.
The design studio notes their client desired “a welcoming and a warm space for living, socializing, and displaying their collection of art and natural artifacts.” This is an “intentional contrast to the cold stainless steel and stark atmosphere of the base building.”
All surfaces of the interior are used to re-enforce the natural atmosphere established by the atrium. American black walnut is used for the millwork in the living, kitchen, bath areas, and staircase, while modern, blackened-steel accents run throughout.
But the transformation of this unit was not a renovation, as the extent of the custom features, specifically the atrium, would not have been possible to include after the fact.
The homeowner’s planning process for the custom-designed penthouse began years earlier, before the excavation of the tower. Considerable coordination was required between local developer Westbank, tower design firm Bjarke Ingels Architects, and structural engineers. The steel structural frames and large glass panels installed in the atrium were lifted to the rooftop using the tower’s construction crane.
“With this design the client is able to enjoy the best of both worlds – dramatic sweeping views of the ocean at English Bay, the North Shore mountains, and downtown Vancouver while also enjoying the ability to open the atrium and hear the sound of rain falling on leaves, and experience the scent of fresh rain on the forest floor,” continues the backgrounder.
The interior living space is clearly an entertainer’s home. A large rooftop deck, accessible by personal elevator, extends the penthouse’s social areas by 1,800 sq ft, where custom-designed features include a stainless steel hot tub, outdoor shower, garden, kitchenette, and ample seating.
The residential portion of the $750 million, mixed-use complex contains 375 condominium homes and 105 market rental homes. London Drugs and Fresh St. Market are the tower’s anchor commercial tenants.
University Canada West is the tenant of the 90,000 sq ft of office space within Vancouver House’s pair of six-storey, triangular-shaped buildings — an academic campus for up to 3,400 students adjacent to the main 49-storey tower.