Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
8X Tower in Vancouver, Canada by GBL Architects
March 25th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: GBL Architects
The site is located at the western corner of Richards and Helmcken Street in downtown Vancouver’s Yaletown neighborhood – positioned at the convergence of three surrounding contextual zones. EMERY BARNES PARK flanks the western edge of the site, providing a large public green space. The URBAN GRID of Helmcken and Richards streets front the southern and eastern edges of the site, distinguished by the neighboring eight storey heritage Brookland Court. On a larger scale, the surrounding YALETOWN SKYLINE provides a variety of architectural styles and residential tower expressions. Establishing a building form and character that appropriately responds to all three of these unique contexts is the foundation of the proposed tower’s conceptual design.
The most basic gesture of this concept was to visually bisect the tower with a recessed spine. From there, we bumped out the base to emphasize a volume at a similar scale to the neighboring Brookland Court. An undercut is then provided between the tower and base to further the distinction between the two. The volume closest to the park is stepped down two storeys to reduce the height along the park edge. This results in three volumes that can each take on a distinct character in response to the context that is shaping it.
The three volumes are further scaled through a consistent proportion of eight storeys that is derived from the height of Brookland Court, maintaining a consistent scale throughout the entire building composition. Each volume is uniquely modulated in response to one of the three contextual zones.
The URBAN BASE is eight storeys in height to match Brookland Court. The main façade consists of glazing and stone panels, while an outer screen of vertical aluminum fins creates a volume that feels more uniformly solid – particularly when viewed from the street at oblique angles. The rhythm of fins is shifted at levels five and eight, aligning with the midpoint of the window bays and cornice line in Brookland Court.
The PARK TOWER is 32 storeys of dwellings wrapped in balconies to provide large private outdoor space directly adjacent to public park. At the base of this volume, a Montessori School projects out – providing an active edge with children during the day and serving as a backlit “lantern” along the park edge in the evening. The balconies are broken into four modules of eight. The bottom module has the smallest amount of balcony frontage to minimize overlook to the adjacent building. Each module progressively increases going up, as the views increase and overlook issues decrease.
Finally, the YALETOWN TOWER – at 24 storeys – sits above the base and projects up to the underside of the view cone. It is clad in thermally superior curtain wall glazing and shrouded in a diamond patterned solar lattice. The diamond shape provides for uniform shading going from the southeast to southwest facades and gives this volume a unique identity as it relates to the vertical expression of the Urban Base and horizontal expression of the Park Tower. The eight storey module is continued here by repeating the diamond pattern three times over the 24 storeys.
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