MEC Head Office – Great Northern Way

MECWhile it’s currently on the outer edge of the area we cover, with the promised new Emily Carr University campus (and maybe an extension of the SkyTrain line) Great Northern Way is starting to see some innovative buildings. The MEC head office recently moved from leased space in Mount Pleasant to a purpose-built office beside the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station.

Designed by Proscenium Architecture + Interiors, the building’s high-tech lighting and air-control systems, and extensive natural lighting reduce energy consumption by an estimated 70% compared to a conventional office building, and it hit LEED Platinum status.

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1661 Quebec Street

1661 Quebec

This 15 storey 174 unit condo building was given the green light by the Urban Design Panel this week. It’s already rezoned, the first of 5 buildings to be built by Concert Properties in South East False Creek in their imaginatively titled ‘The Creek’. Designed by Rafii Architects with Richard Henry Architects it’s the middle of three buildings that will face Quebec Street opposite Block 100 and Lido.

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Spot – 2800 Cambie Street


Spot Cambie & 12th 2015

Here’s the slightly altered version of the newly named ‘Spot’, seen and OK’d by the Urban Design Panel before it gets a Development Permit. It’s a slight variation on the third attempt to design a building for this site. (That’s the earlier version, below).  It first showed up in April 2012, and was redesigned in the summer if 2013. Council won’t have to travel to if they want to see it once it’s built; it’s across the street from City Hall, on the corner of 12th Avenue and Cambie.

IBI 12th & CambieEarlier designs by Fougere Architecture for Shato Holdings (who own White Spot – there’s an existing restaurant on the southern half of the site) were rejected by the Urban Design Panel. IBI/HB’s design has a much more contemporary look than the rejected earlier attempts, and the final version has fewer units, and just two layers, not the three in the image here. The new building has 8 rental units as well as 125 condos, and a relocated heritage house on 13th Avenue.

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420 Hawks Avenue

720 Hawks newHere’s an interesting project that is now a rezoning proposal. The developer, the Atira Women’s Resource Society have developed a proposal to build an ambitious recycled shipping container housing scheme. It would be on Hawks Avenue behind the totally renovated Rice Block, a heritage building with non-market housing. Atira developed the recent Alexander Street container housing that was clearly considered successful enough to replicate.

We can’t find any existing container-based housing seven storeys tall, so this could be a first (although there’s a hotel in England that stacked nine rows of containers to form the structure). Unlike the first project which had 12 studio units, this one will have a mix of one and two bed units – (the one beds are made from two 20-foot containers: the 2-bed take three). We now know the architects are Boni Maddison, and this is a new render (that we’ve fixed the perspective on a bit) which shows the view looking north up Hawks Avenue to East Hastings, showing the container parentage of the structure.

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333 East 11th Avenue


E11th 2015 render

We first featured this substantial rental residential building proposed for the corner of East 11th and Kingsway in June 2013. The design, by Acton Ostry, was changed following E11th rentalan initial rejection by the Urban Design Panel. It was first designed as a 13 storey building with 195 units with ground floor commercial space; the second iteration (this model from October 2013) was for 15 floors but six fewer units.

It’s both a rezoning and a development permit application under the Rental 100 Program (so it would be rental for 60 years or the life of the building). This is a slightly different version – a number of changes have been made to improve light into the courtyard and it’s now 14 storeys and 202 units. The next step will be a rezoning hearing if Council agree to move it forward at a Council meeting this week.

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Beach Towers

Beach Towers townhouse

Here are two infill buildings that have taken a while to reach approval but which were finally considered by the Development Permit Board. They’re rental infill buildings slotted in around the 1965 and 1968 C B K Van Norman designed Beach Towers complex at Beach and Harwood.

Beach Towers midrise


One building adds 15 townhouses on the north side of Harwood, (which we haven’t illustrated) while two others would add more townhouses on Beach Avenue and an eight storey building on Cardero Street. They’re designed by IBI/HB, who have produced a number of versions before the style and scale was acceptable. The rezoning, nearly two years ago came with a requirement for “Design development to the new buildings to develop a contemporary architectural character that is distinctive but complementary with the existing residential building while contributing to the character and visual quality of the West End.”

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1495 Ontario Street

F C Boating

This address had us confused – and then we realized this isn’t really a building. This is the design for the non-motorized boating facility proposed for the end of False Creek (in front of the new park area that will be completed with the nearby project by Concert Properties).

There will be total of six floating docks with storage structures (each under 450 square feet). The design is by McFarland Marceau Architects working with Fast + Epp Structural Engineers, and Moffatt & Nichol who are Marine Structural Engineers.

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