Vancouver Convention Center West — 2010 Global Award for Excellence Winner

Vancouver Convention Center

About Vancouver Convention Center West

Developer/Owner: BC Pavilion Corporation
Architect: LMN (design), Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects & Planners (prime)
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Why Vancouver Convention Center West?

Situated on Vancouver’s waterfront on one of the most unique civic building sites in North America, the world’s first LEED Platinum convention center is designed to bring together the complex ecology, vibrant local culture and urban environment, embellishing their interrelationships through architectural form and materiality. The 1.2 million square foot design knits the convention center experience into the urban fabric of the downtown core, using the building to frame public open space and extend the city’s pedestrian activity to the waterfront. Connecting to an existing harbor greenbelt, it continues a public promenade and bike trail across the site, completing an important link in the city’s park system, originating from Stanley Park to the west. The architectural expression embodies the diverse elements that define its place. Use of folded landforms blurs the distinction between building and landscape, urbanity and nature, creating a major civic plaza and 6-acre living roof—the largest in Canada.

The design of the new Vancouver Convention Centre West District presented an opportunity to fully engage the urban ecosystem at the intersection of a vibrant downtown core and one of the most spectacular natural ecosystems in North America. Designed to achieve LEED® Canada Gold, the project weaves together regional & urban design, architecture, and interior architecture in a unified whole that functions literally as a living part of both the city and the harbor.

As a convention center, the vast program encompasses at once an urban district and a singular building. Occupying a former brownfield site on the downtown waterfront, the CAN $883 million development is approximately 14 acres on land and 8 acres over water, with 1 million square feet of convention space, 90,000 square feet of retail space, 450 parking stalls, and 400,000 square feet of walkways, bikeways, public open space, and plazas. An elevated 6-lane viaduct for vehicles and pedestrians connects the site back to the city grid, while infrastructure for further development extends into the water, creating a base for future commercial and recreational marinas, a float plane terminal, and water-based retail opportunities.

The most visible evidence of the project’s deep approach to ecology is its living roof—at 6 acres it is the largest in Canada, hosting some 400,000 indigenous plants and a colony of 60,000 bees. The roof’s sloping forms build on the topography of the region, creating a formal connection to nearby Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains in view across the Burrard Inlet. Biologically, the living matter of the roof forms the terminus of a chain of waterfront parks that rings the harbor and creates continuous habitat between the Convention Center and Stanley Park. Along the perimeter facing the water, an artificial concrete reef drops below the public way along the waterfront. The reef is designed in collaboration with marine biologists and consultants to function ecologically as part of the natural shoreline, supporting salmon, crabs, starfish, seaweed, and a variety of other resident marine species. Runnels built into the tide flats beneath the building create tidal zone habitats that flush daily.

Vancouver Convention Center West…

Vancouver Convention Center West

A six-acre living roof that is the largest green roof in Canada and the largest non-industrial green roof in all of North America. Photo credit: Nic Lehoux

  • World’s first LEED Platinum convention center
  • Restored marine habitat that is part of the building’s foundation
  • The design creates a community experience that is simultaneously a building, an urban place, a park, and an ecosystem
  • As a convention center, the building’s vast program encompasses at once a single building and a new urban district
  • The 6-acre living roof is landscaped with more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses

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