There has been quite a bit of critical commentary about some of the design features of Telus Garden, the new half million square foot office block on West Georgia Street. There’s a back-projected screen that will show video content that has some residents concerned, a lane was closed off and dog-legged in what proved to be a less controversial move, and there’s a complicated curved canopy that runs for nearly 300 feet from one end of the building to the other, that seems to be gaining positive reviews.
The two projecting boxes have proved to be the most controversial features of the building, (although they don’t really block any views). They’re capable of showing multi-coloured patterns on the underside, and the city didn’t allow them to be private office space as they crossed into the public realm. On Richards street the box will be a ‘skygarden’ with mature trees (if the illustrations are to be believed), but on Seymour the box is somewhat different.
In his youth, developer Ian Gillespie was a competitive diver (winning a number of medals for the sport), and the building will showcase this with a 3 metre deep pool (the water weighs 231 tons, which explains the size of the steel frame on the structure). Originally the water was going to be lit at night, but this was considered too likely to be a distraction to drivers, so for the time being (while there are still people driving downtown) that feature will not be operating. The first tenants will be moving into the building in April. Fool-proof safety features for the water include a 35 cm foam pad at the bottom to prevent any problems from diving into relatively shallow water.