Vancouverism

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Contents

Background

Vancouverism is much more than a style of building, it encompasses an entire perspective toward urban planning characterized by mixed-use development and the preservation of views and green space. The steel and glass towers that have famously been attributed to Vancouver's skyline are just one part of a master plan to encourage high-density occupancy in a community that is walkable, has plenty of parks, and maintains view corridors for all to enjoy. Due to the success of this mentality, other cities are adopting Vancouverism as a means to redevelop their own downtown cores.[1]

History

First CPR survey of downtown Vancouver

The notion of Vancouverism is a direct result of geographical and infrastructure constraints that are unique to downtown Vancouver. Bordered by water on three sides and without a major highway through this corridor, Planners and designers needed to revitalize the downtown core while coping with these challenges. The Exposition of 1986 would serve as the catalyst for redefining the downtown core from an industrial wasteland to an urban playground. Vancouver's West End is the city's first high-density community, however it wasn't until the redevelopment of the Exposition 86 lands that Vancouver's downtown began to take shape as it is famously recognized today.[2]

Concord Pacific

Redevelopment along False Creek

Two years after Expo 86 the British Columbia government sold the land in which the Expo was held to Hong Kong entrepreneur Li Ka-Shing for the bargain price of $145 million. His newly founded company Concord Pacific than began the controversial task of urban renewel along parcels of land bordering False Creek, (a project that still continues to this day). Through the use of towering (and shiny) condominium buildings, Concord Pacific was able to create 15 000 homes on just 44 acres of land. More importantly, they were able to succeed in revitalizing Vancouver's core.

Building a Lifestyle

George Wainborn Park

Vancouver condominium buildings are Postmodern structures adorned with as much glass as seemingly possible.[3] Which may seem unusual for a city known more for clouds and rain than sunshine. These windows are meant to capture the natural splendor that surrounds the city. Whether one is looking west towards the Georgia Straight, south towards False Creek or north overlooking Vancouver Harbor and The North Shore Mountains, there is not a bad view to be had within the entire downtown region. However, such views usually don't come cheap and are a major contributor to Vancouver's higher than average real estate prices. One of the key factors that has made Vancouverism a success is the preservation of sight lines and corridors to ensure that everyone has a view. Another contribution to Vancouver's unique urban lifestyle were developers desire to create a pedestrian friendly core. As mentioned, there are no major thoroughfares cutting through downtown and anyone who has attempted to find parking downtown quickly realizes why this center boasts such a large number of pedestrians. Transit options are ample and developers have gone above and beyond to cater to foot and bike traffic by adorning sidewalks with luscious gardens and elaborate fountains, giving the city a tranquil feel. Those who have adopted this lifestyle consistently note about the number of days they have gone without driving.

Downtown Vancouver Condominiums

Ritz 1211 Melville Street, Vancouver, BC

The Ritz adds a splash of red to the sea of blue in Coal Harbour's waterfront area with its two vertical stripes. This condominium knows how to "put on the ritz" in providing unbeatable views of the North Shore mountains, downtown streetscape, Stanley Park, and sailboats and cruise ships sailing by on their way to and from Canada Place.

All these sights and the urban conveniences of downtown make Coal Harbour a much sought after place to live. Additionally, The Ritz boasts world class amenities that provide for residents' almost every need. Renowned Vancouver architects Hancock Bruckner Eng & Wright, designed this elegant 38 story building in the postmodern style. The building features many angular and protruding sections that jut out from the facade.

Presidio 088 Barclay Street, Vancouver, BC

The Presidio is a luxury condominium in a one-of-a-kind location in Vancouver's West End. It sits at the southern edge of Stanley Park at Barclay Street and Lagoon Drive. Part city, part park, residents of this building have a truly unique location that boasts views of downtown Vancouver, Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, University of British Columbia, English Bay, the North Shore Mountains, and even the Gulf Islands depending on which way the balcony faces.

The Presidio is a 20 floor concrete high-rise designed by Vancouver architect Richard Henriquez whose firm is now called Henriquez Partners Architects. The building is designed in the postmodern style that plays with a reference to Adolf Loos' Villa Karma - a luxurious country residence in Switzerland. The Presidio has a concrete and glass exterior with a rounded tower, creating a circular room in each suite. In the penthouse suite, this space is used as a master bathroom on the main floor and an office on the second floor, which one can see in the Floor Plan section.

Quaywest 1033 Marinaside Crescent & 1067 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver, BC

Quaywest II in the foreground with Quaywest I in the background

The Quaywest Resort Residences are a pair of high-rise buildings located on the waterfront of Vancouver's prestigious Yaletown neighbourhood. Built in 2001, they were the last towers to be erected on Marinaside Crescent East of Davie Street. Known for its fabulous amenities and great location, it has been popular with owner-occupiers and rental tenants alike.

Quaywest is on the 1000-block of Marinaside Crescent, immediately across the street from False Creek. Quaywest backs onto Pacific Boulevard and the parking garage for both buildings can be accessed from either street. With a walkscore of 93, Quaywest features a coffee shop, pet store and two restaurants on its' block, with a supermarket and many other shops and amenities just a few more blocks away. Vancouver's Aquabus foot passenger ferry (not to be confused with the Sea Bus) stops at the Marina directly across the street from Quayside. At this location, Quayside may most definitely be considered as being at the "ground zero" Yaletown.

Concord 1328 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver, BC

The Concord in downtown Vancouver, BC

The Concord building is located in False Creek North in the downtown core of Vancouver, British Columbia. The land of False Creek was originally developed as part of Vancouver’s Expo 86, and during this time, many iconic structures were built in the area, including Science World, BC Place Stadium, and the Plaza of Nations. Today, False Creek is heavily populated with high rise condominium developments, and is known for its lively nightlife, trendy restaurants, and the seawall pedestrian path that runs along the waterfront of the neighborhood.

False Creek is also close to many of Vancouver’s main tourist destinations, including Canada Place, Gastown, Granville Island, English Bay, Stanley Park, Chinatown, and the Granville Entertainment District. The Canada Line rapid transit tunnel runs underneath False Creek, with a stop in neighboring Yaletown, and there are numerous additional bus and Skytrain routes that service the downtown. False Creek is even home to a couple of small ferry boat services, with both the Aquabus and the False Creek Ferry company offering shuttle service to various points along False Creek.

Elan 1255 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC

Elan

Cressy Developments is one of Vancouver's most recognized builders known for their quality and standards, enabling their buildings to often carry a longer warranty period than other buildings. There are four floors underground that house 320 parking spots, storage, recycling, and bike storage. This concrete building has a glass and steel facade, modern and functional front and lane access to lobby, and three elevators.

This area was originally residential for the many people that worked for CPR in the 1880s. The area was later occupied by many automotive businesses. The Federal Motor Company showroom was built in 1920 on the corner of Drake and Seymour and the building became known as the Liberty building. As part of the concessions to build Elan, Cressy agreed to restore and preserve the Liberty building which is now home to a Shoppers Drug Mart store.

References

  1. The Globe and Mail
  2. The Expo Museum
  3. The Guardian


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