Modern – 1305 Burrard Street


Modern by Amacon has just completed construction on the former Commercial Electronics store Modern Burrard render 2location on Burrard Street. A modest (by Downtown standards) 17 storeys in height (due to a viewcone across the site), the final version of the IBI/HB designed tower has 118 units over retail. Like the YMCA ‘Patina’ tower and Shangri La, this tower is in the West End, although rezoned within the Downtown zoning district. It’s been just over two years from the first work on site.

The finished building looks pretty close to the sales pictures, although the shade of blue for the spandrel panels is quite a bit lighter than was implied in some initial renders, and the yellow highlights were coloured green on the initial project model.

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Addition – 1155 Hornby Street


addtion render

We posted this project in mid 2012 when details and an initial render were released. It’s one of the schemes that hovered in the background for a long time, but it finally headed to the Development Permit Board in July 2012.

The application was first submitted in 2008, and had an 18 storey condo tower with 150 units,  joined to the Murray Hotel. That’s a non-market housing building that will remain as low-income housing, but it will get a facade rehabilitation. The new version increased the units to 164 in 20 storeys. The project is another from the office of Henriquez Partners, 1155 Hornbyin this case for Kenstone Properties. Sales have been offered for a while now, and the design of the tower portion seems to have changed a bit from the earlier versions. There’s no sign of construction starting yet.

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Vancouver Urban Resort – 39 Smithe Street

casino render Oct 2014

We last posted on this project a year ago. Then the on-again, off-again casino project for the western end of the re-roofed BC Place stadium was back (and approved with conditions) with a new Darth Vader design from Las Vegas based Paragon Gaming who have added Canadian financial partners and Marriott International to run the two hotels that bookend the ‘resort’. Here’s one of the latest renders on the developer’s website – construction of the parkade has already started, and completion is supposed to be late in 2016.

2013 casino 3The design is by ARCOP + acdf with Michelange Panzini, all from Montreal, although IBI Group are handling the Vancouver submissions. ARCOP’s original name was Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold, Sise, whose very first project anywhere was the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. We particularly liked this render from the Las Vegas press who can’t be expected to know that the gorgeous lawn is in fact the location of Concord Pacific’s One Pacific residential scheme, now also under construction.

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Telus Gardens

Telus Gardens resi Oct 2014

Telus Gardens is an office building which is replacing a city owned parkade on Georgia Street and the small White Spot retail building on Georgia, as well as a 46-storey residential tower on Robson Street where the Telus parkade was located. The tiny building between the tower and the office to the north is the Kingston Hotel, which won’t be touched in this proposal. The design, by Henriquez Partners for Westbank included a passive energy feature that has the appearance of wood, although it doesn’t seem to feature as prominently in the most recent version of the design (above).

Telus model Jan 2012Earlier details of some of the buildings were shown at a 2012 visit to the Urban Design Panel (who gave it unanimous support for the second time). The tower was initially targetted for LEED Gold status partly through a site wide geo-exchange utility – now the office tower (and maybe the residential as well) will be LEED Platinum.  This will capture the heat that is generated from the Telus Hub which has all the telephone lines in the province.  The amount of cooling to keep the Telus tele-communication systems from overheating is immense, so they will be taking that excess heat and storing it in the ground to be used for hot water heating in the residential tower.

The lane will be unusual in having retail frontages and may even see grass growing between pavers. Eventually plans call for the existing William Farrell Building to get an extra 3 floors, while the other Seymour building gets a new skin and canopies. The 22 storey office tower features cantilevered elements across the street. Initially one of was a skygarden – now it looks as if that might be true for both. There’s a public plaza and canopy on Georgia St. The office tower is rapidly approaching completion: the revised design for the residential podium (now with three floors of office over retail) has been completed, and the tower will appear soon.

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The Lauren – Comox and Broughton

Lauren blogInitially know as 1401 Comox, then as 1601 Broughton, controversy dogged this West End rental tower (now called The Lauren) since it was first proposed back in October 2009. After its third redesign it was approved after a long public hearing. Designed by Henriquez Partners for Westbank Peterson, the tower is one of the few 100% rental building approved under the now ended STIR program designed to encourage developers to build more rental residential units. (A new programme, Rental 100 has replaced STIR).

The tower was slimmed down and sculpted to reduce shadow impacts, and is now 200 feet tall, similar to other towers in the area. Just completed, the building looks almost exactly as the model depicted. The biggest change was the switch to curved balconies, looking very similar to the 1960s and 70s towers that are in 1601 Broughtonthe immediate area. From the other side of the building it’s hard to tell you’re looking at a 21st Century building; the colour and style fit in with the older rental stock. The Broughton façade features De Stijl shapes and colours.

The model showed some fancy landscaping, and the reality is, if anything, even more impressive, with an artwork called Triumph of the Technocrat by Reece Terris - a three dimensional freestanding sculpture made in part out of reclaimed wooden girders salvaged from the demolished St. John’s Church that stood on the site until it was sold in 2009.

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111 Princess Avenue


We noted that the excavation for this City of Vancouver/BC Housing non-market housing project started just under two years ago. Located on the corner of Princess and Alexander, it’s now just getting the finishing touches before residents start moving in.

Until a few years ago Marie Gomez Place was here, a smaller non-market housing project built in 1983 that suffered from poor building maintenance and management, leading to terminal structural issues that saw it finally torn down in 2007. It was named after a former owner whose name was spelled out in mosaic tile inside the door of the original 578 Alexander building. Marie was almost certainly a madam, but her timing wasn’t great. She obtained the permit to build her $9,000 establishment in 1913, but doesn’t appear in the street directory until 1915 just as the authorities closed almost all the brothels on Alexander Street. She doesn’t seem to be in the city a year later.

The new building has 139 suites on 10 floors, is designed by GBL Architects, and will be operated by PHS Community Services Society. It’s design shows it to be a cousin of another GBL designed non-market building, First Place, completed a couple of years ago.

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South Creek Landing – 2211 Cambie Street


This “architecturally ambitious” project is now close to completion. It received an approval from the Development Permit Board at the end of 2011. The minutes recorded that then Director of Planning, Brent Todarian, said “he was willing to use the term iconic for this project and thought it was one of the best pieces of architecture he had seen in the five years he had been the Director of Planning”.

2211 Cambie modelThe building replaces the single storey restaurant last the home of Toyo Sushi, and before that a Korean restaurant. It’s a 6-storey building with 15 residential units over retail. The Urban Design Panel gave it unanimous support, and the project as built does look very much like the model that was first seen three years ago.

It’s one of the first designs from a company briefly called Iconstrux, headed by Arno Matis (who now has his name on the company), who was previously a director at Bing Thom Architects, and was involved with the design of the Sunset Community Centre and the Chan Centre at UBC. You can see the family likeness (as it were) in the curved shapes of this building which curves in both planes, as well as the angled elements of the balconies. Most remarkable is perhaps the fact that this is the first project by developer PortLiving. The building’s design is a notable contrast to the contemporary right-angles of most of the other buildings in the area including the Crossroads project a few blocks up Cambie Street.

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