An entire city block in downtown Vancouver’s West End will be demolished and replaced with two residential towers that provide the city centre with a highly unique faux-heritage architectural flair that also achieves a new green standard.
Earlier this week, Vancouver City Council approved a rezoning application by Landa Global Properties and Asia Americas to redevelop 1468 Alberni Street into two residential towersreaching 442 ft (48 storeys) and 405 ft (43 storeys).
View cones crossing through the site do not permit taller heights. Both towers are connected at the base by a multi-storey central podium.
The development site, spanning an area of over 43,000-sq-ft, is framed by Alberni Street to the north, Nicola Street to the west, Broughton Street to the east, and the laneway north of Robson to the south. The site is currently occupied by the 70s-built apartment and office buildings.
The project is designed by New York-based Robert AM Stern Architects, with local firm MCM Partnership acting as the architect of record.
According to the application, it is a “throwback of the Formalist style, of the early-20th century” mimicking some of the concepts of Vancouver’s most cherished heritage buildings like the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Marine Building, and Vancouver Block. Such concepts are also fairly common in New York City.
“The proposed design celebrates the diverse architectural styles in the city and provides a unique contrast to the Vancouverism style of glass towers,” reads the architect’s design rationale.
“A key material element that is unique in contemporary Vancouver high-rise design is the use of limestone cladding on the whole project – providing a direct link between the proposal and the historic Vancouver architectural icons from which it draws its inspiration. This materials strategy of quality and authenticity is carried forward into the other major materials such as granite accents, rubbed bronze spandrels and steel details.”
Additionally, the developers have called this project the tallest Passive House towers in the world. They will be built to a rigorous German building standard that drastically improves the building’s energy efficiency and comfort while also reducing its ecological footprint.
It is anticipated that a superior building envelope, insulation, and a design that optimizes solar gain and shade will reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool the towers by nearly 90%.
There will be a total of 443 homes, including 314 market strata units and 129 market rental units, which is a replacement of the existing number of rental homes on the site. The unit mix is 34 studio units, 167 one-bedroom units, 188 two-bedroom units, 34 three-bedroom units, 16 four-bedroom units, and four penthouse units.
Six levels of underground parking holding 484 vehicle parking stalls and 562 bike parking spaces will support the project’s density.
The project’s entire floor area spans 647,000-sq-ft, giving the project a floor space ratio density of 14.95 times the size of its lot.
Community amenities that will be offered entail a city-owned daycare – valued at $7 million – with a capacity for 56 children, and a small portion of the space required for a new public park on the western edge of the lot.
The new public park will replace the roadway of Nicola Street between Alberni Street and the laneway to the south.
On top of the in-kind contributions, the developer will provide the municipal government with a cash community amenity contribution of $68 million that will go towards the West End Public Benefit Strategy.
These new towers are in the immediate vicinity of projects like Kengo Kuma’s 40-storey ‘carved’ tower at 1550 Alberni Street, Bosa Properties and Ole Scheeren’s 43-storey ‘jenga’ tower at 1500 West Georgia Street, Bosa Properties and Henriquez Partners Architects’ 26-storey ‘scaly’ tower at 1500 West Georgia Street, and Westbank and Bing Thom’s 39-storey ‘exoskeleton’ tower at 1684 Alberni Street.
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