There have been quite a few ‘zombie buildings’ on this blog in the past few years. Those are projects that died, and then came back to life again. None are quite as unlikely as Artemisia; an extraordinary building nominally designed by GBL (but really the brainchild of erstwhile developer James Schouw who also developed the Gothic themed Grace tower on Seymour Street).
A while ago, after an unfortunate incident during site clearance at Hornby and Helmcken (still viewable on YouTube) there was a delay, and then a bank ordered sale of the site. It looked as if the scheme would be a victim of the 2008 downturn, but then the developer’s website said ‘Construction to Start July 2012′ and indeed, nearly two years later here it is. Boffo Developments took the project on and effectively built the original design for the 21-unit strata building.
The ‘as built’ is remarkably faithful to the concept: the brown is less rust coloured, the trees slightly more upright, but overall it looks like they said it would. It certainly adds some variation to a part of Downtown that wasn’t known for anything unusual architecturally. We suspect it’s probably going to be one of those buildings that is either loved, or strongly disliked. If you can’t recall, it replaces an undistinguisged two storey office building.
This project started out as something of a mystery in June of 2013 – an office building on a site on the corner of West Pender and Seymour Street. Right now there are two older 2-storey buildings, one is a sushi restaurant and the other (dating from 1905) currently vacant.
The mystery was that as far as we knew there wasn’t either a rezoning or development application submitted, although the building was being marketed. The design by Musson Cattell Mackey initially was for a 9-storey building with 77,000 sq ft of space (right).
Now there’s a development application, it’s a 10 storey building, and the design has evolved into something that looks really much more interesting. Our image shows the view down Seymour, looking north. There are angled glazed sections in the Seymour facade that don’t show up well from this angle, but which add an extra level of variation on what is really a very efficient block floorplate.
The Urban Design panel are due to see it in April 2014, and given a positive response it’s scheduled for the Development Permit Board in June.
Here’s another of the projects that are being developed to help solve the very limited housing opportunities for the homeless and hard to house in Vancouver. We haven’t featured the building before on the blog, in part because the render that was available showed a rather unexciting project (and a dematerializing vehicle).
Fortunately the reality is far more attractive. Designed by DYS Architecture, it’s a 16-storey 141 unit building that will be run by The Kettle Friendship Society in conjunction with Family Services of Greater Vancouver. The main floor will house the Directions Youth Services Centre that was on the City-owned site before the redevelopment. BC Housing provided the majority of construction funds, but the project was also financially supported by Streetohome Foundation with contributions from both CIBC and Canadian Western Bank.
Directions provides health, mental health and addiction services, counseling, employment and training opportunities, peer support services, access to community and business partnerships and practicum programs, literacy and life skills training, and recreational, interactive, and artistic (music and art) programs. It will also include a Vancouver School Board Learning Centre. 30 of the units will be committed to youth under the age of 25.
The development permit for the Rize Alliance development site at Broadway and Kingsway was submitted back in July last year, and now has a June Development permit Board date. Rize Alliance, the developers, must be confident of approval as they’re already building a sales centre on the site. Here are two updated images on the city website for Acton Ostry’s retail and residential project, where a (now) 21-storey tower is located on the northern end of the block on Kingsway, and the Broadway facade is a mid-rise block which sort of references the Lee Building (across and down the street) in scale and colour.
The project still has quite a bit of colour in various elements, although it’s toned down from some earlier versions, using a European panel system that supposedly looks like wood. There have been quite a few minor changes from the 2013 version, and the project is now much closer to the approved rezoning, with a significant commercial component – around 75,000 sq ft - and 258 residential units.
The part of Downtown South between Burrard and Granville was recently lagging behind the area to the east along Seymour and Richards, where condo projects were developed steadily. Now it’s catching up fast – here’s the first of a couple of projects in the area.
Cressey started marketing Maddox, their IBI/HB designed 34 storey tower under 3 years ago. Now it’s pretty much finished, with a pattern of three colours of terra-cotta panels.
It replaced a ‘meanwhile’ park that was built to ‘provide a community green space’ that coincidentally also avoided a lot of taxes, while the housing market recovered from the 2008 downturn. Before that there was a Travelodge on Howe Street, demolished some years earlier.
The street address is a new one, created to recognise that the Granville loops at this end of the Granville Bridge will one day be removed.
Beatty Gate was a three – or six storey building next to the Stadium SkyTrain station and the ‘Spanish Steps’ down to Chinatown and International Village. It had 3 storeys on the Beatty Street side, but as it’s at the top of a hill on the edge of the city’s now hidden escarpment, it had six storeys to the lane behind. Most of the rest of the former warehouses on this stretch of Beatty Street are now condos, but this project designed by IBI/HB has four extra floors of office (yes, office, not condos!). Our image shows the new windows on the previously very sorry exposed side of the building. The popular Chambar restaurant will move from the neighbouring building, and will have a presence on the plaza – an excellent idea that will bring some activity to an underused space. (There was once another building beside it, but it was demolished for the SkyTrain Station and ‘Spanish Steps’ to Chinatown. Perhaps that should be ‘Chinese Steps’?)
Here’s the render on the Beatty side – where some final construction is still going on. The approval came through almost exactly two years ago, and the developers have successfully leased the building in the meantime to a variety of tenants. The new 50,000 sq ft 10-storey building has a four floor structure that sits on top of the original ‘brick and stick’ warehouse, using cast-in-place concrete. Surprisingly, it was little heavier than a steel structure, allowed greater spacing between columns and improved seismic performance.
1400 Howe first showed up exactly two years ago when we suggested it might raise a few eyebrows for its design. The project was reworked and given a unanimous approval for rezoning by City Council in the fall of 2013.
Westbank have moved fast to develop the 52 storey tower and two other buildings around and under the onramp at the south end of Granville Street in Downtown.
Very few people have had anything negative to say about the project, and at the public hearing they were significantly outweighed by those with a positive view. The design is being handled in Vancouver by DIALOG and James K M Cheng, but the concepts and details are all the work of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his company BIG.
The scheme includes 500,000 sq ft of residential space, office space, retail space, and the possibility of a variety of temporary uses using the space under the Granville Bridge, including a pop-up cinema. As it’s one of the higher building sites in the city the review by the Urban Design Panel was augmented by architects from Germany and Toronto.
Our illustrations are of the latest model that will undoubtedly be the star of the marketing effort, in amazing detail with a much clearer idea of how the building will look. The tower starts out as a triangle on the ground, and ends up rectangular 50 storeys up.
The project has already started a marketing campaign and has a name – Vancouver House. The developers have created an exhibition, opening in March, that will explain how the design evolved.