Westbank has a history of helping shape the evolution of neighbourhoods, through projects that exemplify our commitments to design excellence, sustainability and to advancing civic initiatives. Applying the “Total Design” philosophy to an entire district and building on the success of Granville Island across False Creek, Vancouver House is not only an architectural breakthrough, but the active core of a new waterfront neighbourhood called the “Beach District”.
Why is it called the Beach District? It’s because you’re one block off the beach and one block off Vancouver’s famed Seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path which extends for kilometres around the Downtown peninsula, connecting Olympic Village to Yaletown, the West End and Stanley Park.
The Beach District will directly connect with a future Greenway on top of the Granville Bridge, a panoramic walking and bike pathway to Granville Island, as well as the retail and entertainment district along South Granville.
The concept with Vancouver House is to create a diverse, vibrant zone for living and working with a new retail, hospitality, workspace, and cultural environment within this ideally located neighbourhood. We envision a unique mix of restaurants and cafes, one-off concepts, shops and services, food carts, craft fairs and farmer ’s markets, all animated by a range of street celebrations, block parties and pop-up events.
Vancouver House spaces will enjoy views of False Creek, the maritime heart of the city and English Bay with sublime vistas of open ocean, the Gulf Islands, and Stanley Park. The site is perfectly located for waterfront access, including the 28 kilometre Seawall, Aquabus service to Granville Island, nearby yacht clubs, and the English Bay beaches. The Creative Space and Marketplace at Vancouver House will enjoy the vibrancy of downtown on one side and Pacific coast scenery on the other.
With Vancouver House, Bjarke Ingels did not simply craft a single, elegant form. He dug down to the street, adding layers of depth, amenities and programming to revive and energize what are now deserted streets below the deck and ramps of the Granville Bridge.
Each of these urban layers is cross-bracing, adding value and interest to the whole. Each had to be integrated with the many other layers of the project, the result being a richer, more complex and engaging city and neighbourhood. When this development is complete and when the project’s ambitious public art installation, Rodney Graham’s Spinning Chandelier is spinning below the bridge, the world will recognize this as city -building at its very best.