Beach and Howe St. by BIG

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Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

Danish architects BIG have unveiled proposals for a 150-metre-high skyscraper in downtown Vancouver.

Beach-and-Howe-mixed-use-tower-by-BIG-+-Westbank-+-Dialog-+-Cobalt-+-PFS-+-Buro-Happold-+-Glotman-Simpson

The architects are working alongside a team that includes developer Westbank, consultants Dialog, Cobalt, PFS, Buro Happold and Glotman Simpson, as well as local architect James Cheng.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The 49-storey residential building will have a twisted form that is set back from the adjacent motorway flyover to prevent any windows or balconies from overlooking it.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

Nine floors at the base of the tower will accomodate offices, shops and restaurants, which will spill out onto a series of public plazas that stretch underneath the elevated highway.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

Here's some more information from BIG:


BIG contributes to Vancouver skyline

The 490-foot-tall Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson and local architect James Cheng marks the entry point to downtown Vancouver, forming a welcoming gateway to the city, while adding another unique structure to the Vancouver skyline.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

BIG’s proposal, named after its location on the corner of Howe & Beach next to the Granville Street Bridge in downtown Vancouver, calls for 600 residential units occupying the 49-story tower, which would become one of the city’s fourth tallest buildings.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The tower is situated on a nine-story podium base offering market-rental housing with a mix of commercial and retail space. BIG was commissioned by Canada’s premier real estate developer Westbank, established in 1992, with over $10 billion of projects completed or under development, including the Shangri-La luxury hotels in Vancouver and Toronto.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

“We have brought together the best talent available in Vancouver and Europe to create a truly world class project that will enrich not only the particular neighborhood, but also the city and its quest to become creative, sustainable and affordable city.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

Architecturally, the Beach and Howe tower will introduce a new building typology to the Vancouver skyline and will create a dramatic gateway to downtown Vancouver that speaks to the emerging creative economy in the city”, Ian Gillespie, President, Westbank.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The tower takes its shape after the site’s complex urban conditions aiming to optimize the conditions for its future inhabitants in the air as well as on the street level. At its base, the footprint of the tower is conditioned by concerns for two significant neighboring elements, including a 30-meter setback from the Granville bridge which ensures that no residents will have windows and balconies in the middle of heavy traffic as well as concerns for sunlight to an adjacent park which limits how far south the building can be constructed. As a result the footprint is restricted to a small triangle.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

“The Beach and Howe tower is a contemporary descendant of the Flatiron Building in New York City – reclaiming the lost spaces for living as the tower escapes the noise and traffic at its base. In the tradition of Flatiron, Beach and Howe’s architecture is not the result of formal excess or architectural idiosyncrasies, but rather a child of its circumstances: the trisected site and the concerns for neighboring buildings and park spaces.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

As the tower ascends, it clears the noise, exhaust, and visual invasion of the Granville Bridge. BIG’s design reclaims the lost area as the tower clears the zone of influence of the bridge, gradually cantilevering over the site. This movement turns the inefficient triangle into an optimal rectangular floor plate, increasing the desirable spaces for living at its top, while freeing up a generous public space at its base.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The resultant silhouette has a unique appearance that changes from every angle and resembles a curtain being drawn aside, welcoming people as they enter the city from the bridge.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

“The tower and base are a reinvention of the local typology, known as “Vancouverism.” In this typology, slender towers are grouped with mixed-use podiums and street walls that define human-scale urban environments. The aim is to preserve view cones through the city while activating the pedestrian street,” Thomas Christoffersen, Partner-in-Charge, BIG.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The tower’s podium is a mixed-use urban village with three triangular blocks that are composed of intimately-scaled spaces for working, shopping, and leisure which face onto public plazas and pathways.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The additional public space adds to the existing streets, giving the neighborhood a variety of open and covered outdoor spaces of various scales which transform the site under the Granville Bridge into a dynamic and iconic mixed-use neighborhood hub.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

“Vancouver has already embarked upon an urban experiment in creating a super dense residential downtown – to increase pedestrian activity and street life.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

With this project we attempt to continue this process of densification by reclaiming a site beneath the bridges that would otherwise be lost as a lifeless “black hole” in the urban fabric.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The diagonal canopies of the vehicular flows above create a new form of weather protected urban space, turning the large infrastructure in to a niche for social life.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The courtyards created by the building volumes, roofs and terraces are all designed to enhance views from the Granville Bridge and the residential units above.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The canted, triangular clusters of green roofs create a highly graphic and iconic gateway to and from the downtown core, reinforcing the City of Vancouver’s focus on sustainable cities.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The exterior façades respond to the various solar exposures which is integral to the overall sustainability concept.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification.

Beach and Howe mixed-use tower by BIG + Westbank + Dialog + Cobalt + PFS + Buro Happold + Glotman Simpson

NAME: Beach and Howe St.
CLIENT: Westbank Projects Corp.
LOCATION: Vancouver, Canada
SIZE: 653,890 sf / 60,670 m2
COLLABORATORS: Dialog, Cobalt Engineering, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg Urban Design, Buro Happold, Glotman Simpson, James KM Cheng Architects
PARTNERS-IN-CHARGE: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen
PROJECT LEADER: Agustin Perez-Torres
TEAM: Julianne Gola, Marcella Martinez, Chris Malcolm, Karol Borkowski, Michael Taylor, Alina Tamosiunaite, David Brown, Tobias Hjortdal, Alexandra Gustafson

  • Vancouver

    Let's hope the local team of architects and landscape architects don't ruin this project. They are not known for there quality design.

  • Mr J

    Full of architect- and planner-speak.

    Are those triangular bits of turf self-mowing? If so, fine; if not, who is going to do the job? Why not have them flat, so they can actually be used by the occupants?

  • James Walter

    and . . . this last person commenting isn't known for his (or her) grammar and spelling! I think it's a terrific scheme and the team assembled to do it are top notch.

    • design

      I am not sure what "top notch" is? But the local vancouver companies chosen are not progressive with design.

  • Toronto

    I like the tower. Not a fan of the base though. I suppose – all things considered – if you're the developer…the portion of the site literally embedded into the highway overpass isn't where you spend your dollars.

    Seem's like a missed opportunity to realize something great happening within that space though (even if it isn't habitable units) – and Vancouver isn't the only North American city grappling with that particular issue.

  • Andy

    Any chance of seeing some plans. Would like to see how the core works and the lettable area.

  • Benjamin

    "..a truly world class project that will enrich not only the particular neighborhood, but also the city and its quest to become creative, sustainable and affordable city."
    Vancouver seems to get modern sustainable urban planning. They understand that in order to reduce carbon emissions cities need to densify, and in order to keep prices affordable we need to increase supply. I only wish London would take lessons from them.

  • Ogier de Beauseant

    These computer renderings say little about the design. I'll wait for photographs of the completed project.

  • van resident

    about time boring Vancouver and it's far too rigid planners open their eyes to bringing something interesting and functional to the city….what a breath of fresh air

  • Chris

    Thats a lot of firms for one proposal…

    Kinda cool design though, hell they’ll probably end up building it.

  • lew

    too little pictures… please post bigger, zoomable images.

  • fede

    It is a very intriguing and sexy shape, although a part from generic statement on urbanity, the main question is: can this even stand in the real world? the cantilever is quite big and there is no mention of a structural principle: I guess that is going to be the real struggle of the local teams…

  • Kevin

    The problem I have with BIG is how unrefined their proposals are. This project as it is could have been finished in a day in the firm where I work at, needing only a few moves by a 3d modeler, a gimmick pattern and no consideration for quality space, structure, circulation or any interest outside of form. I can tell you from personal experience that Bjarke is more focused on getting the project to the renderers than actually developing an idea for architecture. He will tell us about his “simple” style connecting people with architecture, but it would be great to see an actual idea developed from BIG for once.

    • Joh

      Oh ok. Interesting… Have you worked for BIG? Looking at their website they have actually developed a ton of ideas into actual architecture I might add :)

      • http://plot.dk/ applause sign

        Yes. A total of 3 or 4 ideas, forced into 100 different projects. There hasn't been anything new coming from that office since PLOT.

    • Guest 1

      So true! And the worth is that so many offices tend to copy that lame style! Now everyone think that architecture is simple! I guess this is linked to the way architects show their project: no matter the plan if you have a "nice" 3d renderings and a "simple" diagram!
      For me it is a symptom of our society… everything quick and easy! The tyranny of the "cool"…

    • Kasper

      Kevin, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The structure and plans for this project are so well thought-out, that it’s quite an amazing accomplishment to make an icon shaped like this. I think your firm should start doing this then, if it only takes a day. I’ll bet you anything that your firm would never have done this. So just keep making extruded boxes and your CAD drawing.

  • curvesmart

    Gotta say: seismic stability?

  • https://www.facebook.com/zouaoui Zouaoui Merouane Oussama

    So BIG

  • anonymous

    You can see schematic plans and such here: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/ap

  • Domilly

    Why do BIG need produce something new?
    Buildings and architecture are not new and can never be so.

  • amanda

    I am really excited to see this project being built in Vancouver. It's about damn time Van has some really quality design. It's such a boring city in so many ways it's time to change!

    it's too bad BIG has to work with James Cheng because JC has a long working relationship with West Bank. If I were to look for a local architect to collaborate I would definitely consider Busby.

  • http://www.howardweiner.com acolorfulthaiguy

    Santiago Calatrava's influence is apparent in this design At least they copy from the best!

  • Saddan

    So is this project has been approved? I mean are they contracting it by now or something?