Beach And Howe St.

by | 13. Jul 2012

Feature | Mixed use | Residential | Skyscrapers

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupA welcoming gateway to the city, and another unique structure to the Vancouver skyline. The 49-story tower, named after its location on the corner of Howe & Beach, will become one of the city’s fourth tallest buildings.

With its nine-story podium base, and 600 residential units above, 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.

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The tower’s  nine-story 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. 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.

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

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

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. 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.

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

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

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. 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.

The exterior facades respond to the various solar exposures which is integral to the overall sustainability concept. The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification.

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


CITY Vancouver
ARCHITECT James K.M. Cheng
Architects Inc.