Icon 1 - 638 Beach Crescent, Vancouver, BC
Icon 2 - 633 Kinghorne Mews, Vancouver, BC
Icon 1 (right); Icon 2 (left) - Exteriors
|Number of Units||124 and 52|
|Number of Floors||25 and 11|
|Type of Roof||IRMA|
|638 Beach Crescent, Vancouver, BC|
|Distance to Public Transit||Approximately 2 blocks|
|Title of Land||Strata|
Completed in 2006, the Icon buildings make their homes next door to each other in Yaletown, one of Vancouver’s trendiest neighbourhoods for the young professional set. Today, Yaletown is synonymous with luxury, boutique, shopping, coffee culture, yoga, and small well-groomed dogs in teeny tiny sweaters. Which is interesting, since the area’s beginnings were much, much different.
As with most of Vancouver, the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) had a great deal to do with the shaping of Yaletown. About 150 miles (240 kilometers) outside Vancouver is a town called Yale, BC. In the early 1880s, when the CPR reached Yale, most of the town’s population followed the tracks to Vancouver and settled in a single concentrated area. Thus, Yaletown was born.
The tracks reached Yale at a relatively booming time in its history – during the Fraser Canyon gold rush. This leads many people to assume that those who left Yale to resettle in Vancouver were newly affluent looking for life in the city. Not so. The first generation of Yaletowners worked on the railway. First-generation Yaletown was a CPR industrial yard full of warehouses, factories, scrap metal, and staggering amounts of industrial waste.
Yaletown stayed that way until the late 1970s, when the city of bought the land back and redeveloped it as the world stage for Expo ’86, Vancouver’s last World Fair, and one of the last in North America. The Expo lasted only a few months, but in that time it hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors, and gave land developers a look at the potential of the area.
Today, the question of potential is still at the heart of Yaletown. It’s a neighbourhood full of young, career-minded professionals who are looking for that next right step. Either that, or they've taken that step and are enjoying a newly balanced lifestyle with the well-deserved fruits of their labour.
If Yaletown is a sought-after neighbourhood, then Beach Crescent and Kinghorne Mews are among the most sought-after areas in that neighbourhood. Luxury, nature, culture, and convenience are all steps away from the Icon buildings.
The beautiful expanse of George Wainborn Park, and the quiet exclusivity of the False Creek marina are practically right outside the Icons’ front doors. Just a few short blocks away, there’s the hub of city nightlife on Granville Street, shopping on Robson, and the beauty of the Vancouver Art Gallery. A five-minute ride over (or rather, under) Granville Street Bridge will take a traveler to Granville Island for fresh local produce, artisan crafts, and some of the best live theatre in the city.
When a change of scenery is in order, a brisk walk takes Icon residents to Yaletown-Roundhouse SkyTrain Station. The Canada Line, specifically, begins at Waterfront Station, moves through the whole of downtown and its key suburbs, and stops right inside YVR, Vancouver’s International Airport - effectively opening up the whole city, and the rest of the world.
The developers at Concord Pacific, and the architects at Busby and Associates came together on the Icons with a vision of modern concrete structures that exemplified a “harmony” the buildings and their natural surroundings.
In terms of their facts and figures, Icon 1 is a 25-story concrete high rise boasting 124 luxury units. The units are positioned around a central stairwell/elevator bank so as to give each suite its own view quite spectacular view of Wainborn Park, the marina, or the expanse of downtown Vancouver. Almost necessarily, each unit features a private balcony. The same may be said for Icon 2, except that the building comes in at a more modest 52 units over 11 stories.
Environmental sustainability played a key role in the overall harmony that designers worked to bring to the Icons. More on that in the Sustainability section of this article. It is interesting to note, however, that one of the Icons’ key energy management features has also become something of an architectural signature.
Busby incorporated a system of prominent bris-soliel fins on the buildings’ southern faces. As the name – “breaking sun” – suggests, the fins are meant to drastically reduce heat gain in the southern suites by providing shade and absorbing solar impact without entirely blocking the sun.
As a final nod to the marriage of structure and environment, Busby and the landscaping team chose to use only native trees, plants, and stone in the landscape design. This was meant to help maintain local ecology, and effectively carry that ecology from the surrounding environment through the Icons’ living spaces.
Layout and Features
The practicalities: Both Icon buildings are available with layouts ranging from one to three bedrooms, with master or master-and-guest bathroom arrangements. Select suites feature home office, or flex spaces, while all units come with private balconies.
Ceilings are typically over-height at 8’8”, and the previously noted beautiful views come though floor-to-ceiling windows. Main living spaces are floored in either bamboo, or natural wool carpet.
Kitchens feature high-end stainless steel appliances, and polished stone worktops with thick glass accents and bar surfaces. Bathrooms boast custom wood cabinetry, granite counters, and soaker tubs with mosaic glass surrounds.
Unfortunately, free floor plans for Icon 2 are difficult to come by. Those below are all from Icon 1. However, both buildings feature the same spectrum of units in terms of their available number of bedrooms, and both were designed by Busby and Associates Architects.
Similarities in layout can be expected. In lieu of floor plans for Icon 2, readers can find a link to a Virtual Open House for the building at the end of this article.
Both Icon buildings offer "Club Oasis" amenities including:
- Reception lobby and lounge
- Full time concierge service
- Indoor pool and whirlpool
- Shower and steam rooms
- Fitness, massage, and spa rooms
- "Hollywood style" theatre
- Billiards lounge with outdoor terrace
- Meeting room
- Multi-purpose room with catering kitchen
- Landscaped courtyard garden
- The Icon buildings welcome pets.
- Suites are available for either rental or purchase.
- There are no age restrictions on residency.
- Barbecues are permitted in designated areas and/or upon consultation with management.
As mentioned above, environmental sustainability was a key factor in the overall design of both Icon buildings. While they may not feature some of the flashier "green" elements - electric car charging stations, power from an environmental energy grid, and such - they do boast things like the system of bris-soliel fins, a roof designed to minimize the heat island effect, a fully incorporated building-wide recycling program, and a focus on renewable and natural construction materials. The floors are sourced from renewable bamboo growth and the mosaics are made from recycled glass, as a further example.
All of this in addition to the more standard environmentally conscious efforts like low-energy/low-flow appliances and fixtures, and energy-efficient windows.
As an active part of Vancouver's quest to take home the title of "World's Greenest City" by 2020, the Icon buildings are certainly helping Yaletown to build on its already amazing transformation from industrial park to beautiful urban greenspace.
- The original town of Yale, BC may have grown up as a hotspot during the Fraser Canyon gold rush, but with a little money come lots of other things too. During the rush, Yale developed a reputation as “the wickedest little town in British Columbia”. Prospectors, lucky and not-so-lucky, went to Yale in search of booze, brothels and the kind of trouble that the two tend to make when put together.
- Yale BC is still there, in the Fraser Canyon. A 2006 census found a population of 186 people. Local tourists found Yale to be quite the spot for white water rafting. Featured on a first-season episode of Gold Trails and Ghost Towns, Yale is also reputedly haunted by countless spirits of those left behind when the original settlement burned down. Twice.
- In keeping with the history theme, much of the land in today's Yaletown is still owned by the man who began redevelopment after Expo '86, Hong Kong business magnate and philanthropist Li Ka-Shing.
- Yaletown on Wikipedia
- Walk Score
- Icon 1 on Vancouver4life
- Icon 2, a Video Open House
- Greenest City 2020: A Bright Green Future
- Travel the Canyon
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