The site is located in downtown Vancouver’s Yaletown neighborhood – positioned at the convergence of three surrounding contextual zones. EMERY BARNES PARK flanks the western edge of the site, providing a large public green space. The URBAN GRID of Helmcken and Richards streets front the southern and eastern edges of the site, distinguished by the neighboring eight storey heritage Brookland Court. On a larger scale, the surrounding YALETOWN SKYLINE provides a variety of architectural styles and residential tower expressions. Establishing a building form and character that appropriately responds to all three of these unique contexts is the foundation of the proposed tower’s conceptual design.
The most basic gesture of this concept was to visually bisect the tower into two vertical volumes through the introduction of a recessed spine. The base component fronting onto Richards Street was pulled out to emphasize a massing consistent with the scale of the neighboring Brookland Court. An undercut is then provided between the tower and base to further the distinction between the two. The volume closest to the park is stepped down two storeys to reduce the height along the park edge, resulting in three distinct volumes that each take on differing contextual characteristics in response to the surrounding urban environment.
The three volumes are further scaled through a consistent proportion of eight storeys, derived from the height of Brookland Court thereby maintaining a consistent and appropriate scale throughout the entire building composition. Each volume is uniquely modulated in response to one of the three contextual zones:
The URBAN BASE is eight storeys in height to match Brookland Court. This street wall façade is composed of a combination of clear glazing and stone panels, utilising an outer screen of vertical aluminum fins to create a volume that feels more uniformly solid – particularly when viewed from the street at oblique angles. The rhythm of fins is shifted at levels five and eight, aligning with the midpoint of the window bays and cornice line of Brookland Court.
The PARK TOWER is 32 storeys of dwellings wrapped in balconies to provide large private outdoor space directly adjacent to public park. At the base of this volume, a Montessori School projects out – providing an active animated edge during the day and serving as a backlit “lantern” along the park edge in the evening. The balconies are broken into four modules of eight. The bottom module has the smallest amount of balcony frontage to minimize overlook to the adjacent building. Each module progressively increases going up, as the views increase and overlook issues decrease.
The YALETOWN TOWER – at 24 storeys – sits above the base and projects up to the underside of the maximum view cone height. It is clad in thermally superior curtain wall glazing and shrouded in a diamond patterned solar lattice. The diamond shape provides uniform shading across all southerly oriented facades, giving this volume a unique identity as it relates to the vertical expression of the Urban Base and horizontal expression of the Park Tower. The consistent eight storey module is maintained by modulating the diamond pattern three times within the 24 storey height.
The tower will be certified LEED Gold, incorporating a number of innovative passive and mechanical sustainable features within the building design. The thermal performance of the envelope will be enhanced through the use of curtain wall glazing, dynamic electrochromic glass, and thermally broken balcony projections. Solar mitigation for all south oriented facades is enforced through the application of vertical and diagonal louvered screens. A geothermal heat pump will provide a renewable energy source to heat and cool the building.