We revisit another green project that we featured back in April of last year and being utilized for the Olympic Games.
Located on Vancouver’s waterfront with spectacular views of mountains, ocean, and parks, the Vancouver Convention Centre West is designed to bring together the natural ecology, vibrant local culture, and built environment, accentuating their interrelationships through the architecture. Opened earlier this month, the Convention Centre West expansion facility triples the total square footage and functional capacity as well as completes the development of the public realm on the waterfront.
This facility which, is serving as the official broadcast and media center for the Olympics, has just earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Canada Platinum rating.
Among the VCC’s most stunning features is a 6-acre living roof, which is Canada’s largest and the biggest non-industrial living roof in North America. Landscaped with 400,000 native plants and grasses, the green roof acts as an insulator to mediate the exterior air temperature, as well as contributes to the building’s stormwater utilization and integrates with the waterfront landscape ecosystem.
Seattle-based LMN Architects designed the Vancouver Convention Centre West as a compelling vision of what a civic building can be—a celebration of people and place and a model of sustainability. LMN worked in collaboration with Vancouver-based Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects & Planners to design the convention center.
The Vancouver Convention Centre West is a functional integration of the natural and urban environments—the natural ecology of the waterfront with the human activities within the facility. The building expression is created by intersecting the convention center functions with forms that are folding, sliding, and rising up from the waterfront and adjacent public park.
One of the Centre’s Distinctive features is 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. This green roof is landscaped with more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, providing natural habitat to birds, insects and small mammals. It is designed to act as an insulator, reducing heat gains in summer and heat losses in winter. The underside of the roof has Douglas Fir slats and metal bar grating fascia that create a visually porous enclosure for the roof support systems.
An underwater habitat skirt or artificial reef that is part of the centre’s foundation is providing new habitat for barnacles, mussels, seaweed, starfish, crabs and various fish species. The architects collaborated with marine biologists to develop the restoration plans for 200 feet of shoreline and 1,500 feet of marine habitat. The five-tiered underwater structure looks like a set of bleachers, consisting of 76 concrete frames weighing more than 36,000 kilograms each. The structure creates tidal zones underneath the building that flush daily with the rise and fall of the tide.
An innovative water conservation and reuse strategy that is projected to reduce potable water use 60 to 70 percent over typical convention centers. The system features a black water treatment, which processes the building’s sewage water to render it appropriate for other uses, to provide about 80 percent of the gray water needs for toilet flushing in the building and supplemental water for irrigation of the living roof. It also comprises a desalinization plant that draws water from the harbor and processes it to meet additional non-potable water demands.
A sea-water heat pump system that takes advantage of the constant temperature of adjacent seawater to produce cooling for the building during warmer months and heating for the building in cooler months. Back up heat is provided by steam when needed.
Inside the building, natural ventilation is provided in many of the public and pre-function spaces to support healthy indoors air quality. A generous dose of natural lighting gets inside through an ultra clear structural glass system surrounding the building.
Vancouver, British Columbia is a sophisticated, multicultural metropolis renowned for its spectacular natural setting of mountains, water, and park spaces and lively urban core. The nexus of these diverse elements—the natural ecology of the waterfront, vibrant city culture, and urban built environment is embodied in the design for the new Vancouver Convention Centre West. From the city’s sustainability commitment to its vibrant urban character, The essence of the highly spirited surrounding community is embedded in the architectural design in several important ways.
The design visually links to Vancouver’s harbor greenbelt and Stanley Park at the city’s western tip. “It’s more than a building. It is part of the waterfront and the park ecosystems.” Over 130,000 square feet of new walkway/bikeway connects across the site, extending Vancouver’s famous waterfront and enhancing the public’s access to the water’s edge. More than 120,000 square feet of new public plazas, festival spaces and informal gathering areas encircle the center, providing places for cultural activity. Additional exterior terraces for public enjoyment are part of the landscaped forms that comprise the overall building shape and culminate with the green roof. The project also provides for future development of marine-based activities such as a float plane terminal and public and private marinas.
Wood block from locally harvested Hemlock is a predominant interior finish. Douglas Fir slats comprise the ceiling, extending from the outside to the inside and running the length of the building to provide a directional texture to the spaces. Interior colors reflect the building’s surroundings with shades of blue in north meeting rooms, shades of teal in the east meeting rooms, and shades of green in the south meeting rooms. The carpet in the ballroom is a pattern of copper and blue rectangles, graduating from predominately copper on the south side that is closest to urban core to predominately blue on north side that looks over water.
The design of the Vancouver Convention Centre West knits a close relation with the downtown core, contributing to the evolution of the community’s culture and evoking a unique experience of place through the architecture. In order to integrate the project to its urban surroundings, the building is designed as an extension of the waterfront public park intersected by the convention center functions and the geometries, views and spaces of the adjacent urban setting. Its shape creates view corridors from the city’s urban core that extend through to the water, capitalizing on the centre’s location at the end of two major downtown streets.
The building also frames views into the urban setting. More than 90,000 square feet of retail space animate the public facades of the building and provide dining and shopping opportunities. The project reaches out to its surroundings through the ultra clear structural glass envelope enclosing its entire perimeter, and creating a strong visual connection between inside and outside.
• Targeting LEED® Canada Gold
• Six-acre living roof, the largest in Canada and the largest non-industrial living roof in North America
• Restored marine habitat that is part of the building’s foundation
• Water conservation and reuse system that features black water treatment and desalinization. On-site black water treatment and desalinization systems that are projected to reduce potable water use 60 to 70 percent over typical convention centers
• Heat pump system that takes advantage of the constant temperature of adjacent seawater
• Energy efficient fixtures
• Energy efficient fixtures and advanced energy management systems
• Natural ventilation
• Extensive use of controlled natural daylighting and ventilation
• Extensive use of local materials, including Douglas fir and Hemlock wood finishes harvested from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast
• Radiant floor cooling
Project Completion Date: April 2009
Project Cost $883,200,000 (CAN) (This figure includes new West facility, renovations to existing East facility and associated infrastructure improvements to the waterfront.)
Project Size: 1.2 million square feet with 223,000 square feet of exhibition hall, 60,000 square feet of meeting rooms, 55,000 square feet of ballroom, 90,000 square feet of retail space, and 400,000 square feet of walkways, bikeways, public open space and plazas