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1189 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC


The Genesis building in Vancouver
Building Information
Developer Kenstone Properties
Architect Alphonse Kho Architects
Management Company Gammon International
Number of Units 245
Number of Floors 26
Year Built 1999
Construction Method Concrete
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1189 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC
Distance to Public Transit Over 40 options nearby
Region Vancouver
Municipality Vancouver
Zoning DD
Title of Land Strata



The word "Genesis" from the Greek means "generation, creation, beginning or nativity." While it is commonly known as the first book in the Bible, it is less commonly known as a 26-story condominium in downtown Vancouver.
The exquisite hand-painted dome
From the outside, this brown high-rise with a mixed exterior facade does not seem too noticeable, but one won't easily forget it when stepping inside its doors.

The lobby looks like a relic from the ancient Greek civilization. The marble lobby or rotunda displays trademarks of classic Greek architecture with its Corinthian columns featuring highly detailed and decorated capitals. The soaring lobby captures one's attention with a 30-foot wide painted dome at the top.[1] In this way, residents of The Genesis have their own Sistine Chapel ceiling right in the entrance way leading to the elevators, featuring a scene from the book of Genesis, painted by Vancouver artist Paul Archer.

The classical or Renaissance-style architecture of The Genesis was designed by Alphonse Kho Architects. Kenstone Properties developed the tower in 1999. It stands near the trendy neighbourhood of Yaletown, a central location from which to launch "the beginning" of a downtown urban lifestyle.


The Genesis is located on 1189 Howe Street, sandwiched between the West End with its entrance at Davie and Burrard Streets and the Yaletown district. Yaletown is popular with young urban professionals and is a very convenient place to live for those working downtown. It has a thriving arts, shopping, nightlife, and dining scene. Residents with an urge to shop have their pick with a few nearby locations: Yaletown, Granville Street, and Pacific Centre mall. A number of art galleries dot the area as well.

For those more interested in the outdoors, The Genesis is three blocks from the Seawall, a scenic trail that wraps around Stanley Park and portions of downtown. It is often full of walkers, bikers, joggers, and everything in between. Nearby parks include Emery Barnes Park and Nelson Park. The aquabus to Granville Island with its famous public market is also a quick jaunt away.

Some restaurants to keep an eye open for are The Ivory Tavern, American Cheesesteak Company, and The Roll Factory. The Genesis is also a mere two blocks from the Law Courts and the crowds that gather at lunchtime to eat in Robson Square (also the current site of the Vancouver Art Gallery).

A bus stops right outside the complex and there is a major transit hub just a block away. The Yaletown-Roundhouse SkyTrain station is the closest to the building, which is part of the Canada Line.[2]


The Genesis is a 26-level high-rise made of concrete. It is often cited as 29 floors, but there are no fourth, thirteenth or fourteenth floors, making the structure 26 stories. It has a mixed all-brown coloured facade comprising both brick and EIFS broken up by panes of glass. Its distinct architectural feature occurs on the inside -- the marble rotunda with the concierge desk behind the four white Corinthian columns that support the walls and dome. Roughly half of the suites in The Genesis have balconies.[3] It was designed as a wheelchair accessible building and features underground parking and a 'rooftop' garden that's actually located on the fourth floor.

The distinctive metal roof of the Genesis is made to appear as copper, but is in fact merely a metal roof. That is why it has not and will not oxidize into the green colour typical of genuine copper roofs.

Layout and Features

There are 245 units in The Genesis, and about half of them have balconies that offer beautiful city views of downtown, Stanley Park, the ocean, and the North Shore mountains.

Suites are finished with hardwood floors and come with a washer and dryer.

Kitchens either have marble or granite countertops with stainless steel appliances.[4]

Penthouse suites are also available. Most units range from studios to two bedrooms.

Storage space is available in the suites, and some units also feature a solarium or flex space.[5]

Floor Plans

Here are a couple of floor plans available for The Genesis:


The Genesis boasts quite the list of state-of-the-art amenities:

  • Indoor swimming pool
  • Hot tub
  • Sauna
  • Rooftop garden (on the fourth floor)[4]
  • Guest suites
  • Concierge
  • Lounge
  • Billiards room
  • Multimedia room
  • Secure underground parking

Genesis also owns a guest suite within the building that residents can rent out at a nominal cost for visiting friends and relatives. This suite not only provides revenue to the Strata, but also constitutes an asset belonging to the Strata Corporation which considerably improves the strata's financial position.


Genesis Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

The Genesis permits rentals and up to two pets.

As of its' October 2010 AGM, Genesis approved a change to its by-laws, becoming a completely smoke-free building, inside and out. This by-law change affected individual strata lots as well, meaning even owner occupants cannot smoke in their own suites.

There is no age restriction.[6]


While the Genesis was not designed as a 'green' building, it encourages an active lifestyle with its exercise room, pool, and central location perfect for walking to and from daily errands.

There is a community garden located nearby at Davie Street and Burrard Street called "The Davie Village Community Garden," that residents can become involved with if they would like to grow their own vegetables and help create a sustainable environment.

Residents should note that there are often long wait lists for a plot of land, as more people want to garden than there is room for.

Local community groups administer the gardens, not City staff.[7]


Community gardens are sprouting up all over the city
  • The hand-painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel done by Michelangelo is renowned as an example of High Renaissance art. There are nine scenes on the ceiling from the book of Genesis, the most famous being "The Creation of Adam." Perhaps this artwork is what inspired the name for "The Genesis" condominium in Vancouver, considering the dome in its lobby is also hand-painted. Contrary to popular belief, Michelangelo did not paint the ceiling lying on his back. He did it in a standing position, which was nevertheless uncomfortable with his neck cranked upwards.[8]
  • The Davie Village Community Garden has 135 plots of land assigned to residents in the West End. The success of the garden is demonstrated by the amount of people on its wait list - over 100. It was developed by Prima Properties Ltd., replacing a Shell gas station and mini mall. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with school field trips and community potlucks happening in its space, and apparently a marriage proposal too.[9]


  1. Emporis
  2. Walk Score
  3. Jurgan Turner
  4. 4.0 4.1 BC Condos
  5. Rent It Furnished Realty
  6. Blu Realty
  7. City of Vancouver-Community Gardens
  8. Wikipedia-Sistine Chapel
  9. Hemmera-Davie Village Community Garden

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