British designer Thomas Heatherwick's practice Heatherwick Studio has unveiled design for a pair of residential towers in Vancouver, and once complete, it is will be the first high-rise project of the studio in Canada. The project is still in early design stage, but the plans have been submitted to the City of Vancouver in late December 2020.
The buildings are located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Alberni Street and Bidwell Street. The proposal calls for a 385-ft-tall, 34-storey west tower and a 345-ft-tall, 30-storey east tower with 401 condominium homes. The unit mix is 12 studios, 160 one-bedroom units, 199 two-bedroom units, and 30 units with at least three bedrooms. The redevelopment’s total floor area is 423,428 sq. ft.
“Using the tree as our inspiration, we saw that the roots have a direct relationship with the top of the tree, no matter how tall it grows. Starting with the concept of large mature tree roots, we developed the idea of gently curving vertical structures that connect the public on the ground floor to the top of the towers,”continues the design rationale.
Featuring a curvaceous form and distinguished with vertical strips throughout the towers, the first six floors of the towers are narrowed like a ribbon form and the residential program is placed on the upper floors of the buildings.
"The concept aims to bring a new level of global design excellence to Vancouver, featuring two curvaceous, light-filled towers and a publicly-accessible ground level plaza for community engagement," said Heatherwick Studio.
On the ground level, there will be retail functions that will serve for the local community, which will be publicly accessible. It is understood from the renderings that the material of the vertical strips will be made of wood that will continue in a fluid form towards upwards.
The zig-zagged form of the terraces continues in the interiors and is perceived from the ground level plaza. The terraces on the first six floors will also have planted gardens. The upper floors, reaching at 22 levels, will follow the same form of zig-zagged terraces which are divided with vertical wooden strips.
The tower’s heights are curbed by mountain view cone height restrictions, with view cone 20.1 and 20.2 from the intersection of West Broadway and Granville Street limiting the west tower’s height.