Initially 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 the 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.