10/ Contextual Design


The design for Vancouver House arose directly from its context, in response to challenging site constraints. The two core design challenges for Vancouver House were of scale and geometry.

The Granville Street Bridge adjacent to the project was built in the 1950s as part of a city-wide freeway system which was never completed. As a result, the area around its cloverleaf on-and off-ramps on the north end have never been fully integrated into the city, as they generated oddly-shaped infill spaces.

The Vancouver House site is triangular and because of setback requirements from the bridge ramps, there was limited buildable land. The solution that BIG arrived at is very much a direct response to these difficult site conditions. They have created an entirely new, unique set of buildings, with a typology which embraces the shape of the site.

The result is set to become one of the most significant moments on the city’s skyline. Continuing the context specificity of the design, BIG went on to create Buildings 3 and 4 to complement the tower and create an entire community in the shape of the bridge’s triangular infill zones. These buildings extend the total work of art and complete a new neighbourhood at the Beach District.