Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shannon Mews

Shannon Mews, the 10 acre site at the corner of Granville and 57th looks set for eventual redevelopment.

The Wall Financial Corporation has applied to rezone the property from RS-6 to CD-1 and has begun public consultations on the process. In an August 25, 2009 Policy Report, the city gives tacit approval of the project as long as certain criteria are met. The site is a prime candidate for the city's Eco-Density program, with Busby, Perkins & Will on board to create a development that has more rental housing, achieves LEED Gold status, and uses solar energy and efficient water strategies.

The site has an interesting development history, dating back to the early 20th century when the Rogers family built the original and still existing Beax-Arts mansion, gardens and perimeter wall. The mansion and wall are now designated "A" status heritage structures and will be incorporated into any future master plan.

In the early 1970's the site was rezoned to allow 162 rental units to be built. Curiously, there is no mention in the Policy Report of the historic value of these units or of their designer, Arthur Erickson. The report offers a recommendation that "a rezoning application for the entire site provides a good opportunity for the City to ensure that rental units are replaced or increased."

Much like another project Busby, Perkins & Will are involved in, this seems like an opportunity for an architectural dialogue that traces Vancouver's modern development history. Perhaps there is a plan that would retain the mansion as well as a portion of the Erickson-designed rental units and incorporate them into one cohesive vision that would align with the city's Eco-Density plans and the changing nature of residential housing.

Vancouver Convention Centre

A few photos from a recent visit to the new
Vancouver Convention Centre, designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects in collaboration with Vancouver's Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and D/A Architects + Planners:

Exterior breezeway, looking towards the North Shore.

Second floor showing copious hemlock used for interior cladding.

Detail of hemlock 'ends' attached to East and West sides of interior walls, giving the effect of a solid massing of stacked wood timbers.

Smaller meeting rooms to the right fade into the distance.

Gathering area showing part of green roof. At the top of this particular section is an apiary.

Seating area adjoining meeting rooms to the left. Windows facing the North Shore vault outwards to help deflect noise from seaplanes and allow a precipitous view down to the water.

Scattered throughout the building are commissioned works by artists such as Germaine Koh, Roy Arden and Derek Root. Root's installation, pictured above, is a large mosaic tile work inlaid into the floor on the lower level. The piece carries on the tradition of public mosaics by earlier artists such as Lionel Thomas and B.C. Binning and has a distinct West Coast quality.

On the Road

The Roadshow: Architectural Landscapes of Canada has wrapped up its cross country tour.

Intended as a public discourse on the state of contemporary Canadian architecture, the tour took nine designers by bus from Vancouver to Halifax, stopping at various architecture schools for presentations and discussions. The Roadshow website is now streaming video interviews with each designer and includes an essay on the conceptual framework of the event.

Included on the trip was Vancouver's David Battersby of Battersby Howat, who have designed a string of highly refined West Coast Modern residences. Battersby discusses a residence the firm designed on Gambier Island as well as their design process and how it's affected by the landscape, clients and working relationships within the office.