Telus Garden is an office building which has replaced a city owned parkade on Georgia Street and the small White Spot retail building on Georgia It also has am almost complete 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 hasn’t been touched by the project.
The design, by Henriquez Partners for Westbank includes a series of passive energy features. Initially the vertical screen that covers one face of the condo building had the appearance of wood, although as built the vertical fins are glass, so the building is quite a bit lighter than originally shown (and presumably also within the units) but more sterile. The three separate ‘boxes’ that break up the bulk of the tower are each internally lit glazed frames which should provide a dramatic image once the building is completed.
The revised design for the residential podium initially showed two floors of retail, but that was altered to have three floors of office over retail. In the process an initial onyx paneled wall has become a zigzag glazed façade.
The office tower was initially targeted for LEED Gold. status partly through a site wide geo-exchange utility – now complete it has achieved LEED Platinum. The roof features solar electrical panels which light the building’s lighting features.
A final phase involves the reclad of the Telus Hub, the 1970s building on Seymour Street which has all the telephone lines in the province passing through. The amount of cooling to keep the Telus tele-communication systems from overheating is immense, so the design takes that excess heat and stores it in the ground to be used for hot water heating in the residential tower.
The lane will be unusual in having retail frontages. Originally plans called for the existing William Farrell Building to get an extra 3 floors, but that has now been sold to a different company. The 22 storey office tower features cantilevered elements across the street. One is a skygarden, and both have led lighting systems on their base surface that can be programmed as an image. (For example, on Remembrance Day they showed a huge poppy).
The most dramatic feature is the public plaza and glazed canopy on Georgia St. The two restaurants in the base are already popular; a casual café with seating in the atrium, and a larger restaurant with significant outdoor seating and unusual ‘birdcage’ booths.