British Columbia

Unique condo tower proposed for Vancouver downtown

A unique highrise project has been proposed for the north end of the Granville Bridge that some hope will inspire a new round of architectural innovation in Vancouver.

Innovative design could would rise 49 storeys

There could be a new look to the Vancouver skyline with the proposal to build a unique 49-storey condominium tower at the north end of the Granville Bridge.

The $200-million project envisioned for the corner of Beach Avenue and Howe Street is a provocative design by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels that starts out as a triangle at the base but turns into a rectangle higher up.

In addition to condos, the tower would offer rental accommodation and also feature commercial space at street level — described as a sort of Granville Island north, with markets, shops, a beer garden or an outdoor cinema.

It’s the kind of innovative idea needed to shake up Vancouver architecture, which has relied on the same recipe of towers with townhouses at the bottom for too long, says architect James Cheng.

"If a building sells well they want to build the next one the same. So it takes a certain developer or certain architect to break the mould," said Cheng. "Once the mould is broken, then other flowers can blossom."

Westbank Projects Corp., the company behind the Shangri-La building in downtown Vancouver, is the developer.

Residents will have their say about the new proposed development at a community open house scheduled for March.

With files from the CBC's Kirk Williams

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