1550 Alberni is located amongst downtown’s most vibrant streets, neighborhoods and amenities. The response to 1550 Alberni is shaped by its environment and surrounding elements. We are excited to have Kengo Kuma, an internationally recognized award winning architect, working with us on his first high rise building in North America.
Kengo Kuma’s modern designs are celebrated for their natural aesthetic and “sense of place.” This will be renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s first large scale project in North America. Kuma considers architecture an ever-evolving dialogue between the environment and people – incorporating natural materials from the nearby surroundings into his designs.
The silhouette of the tower is constantly changing as a result of illusionary profiles of arching cantilevers. The tilted aluminum panels on the façade reinforce this ephemeral quality with shifting qualities of light, and reference the wood shingle vernacular architecture of the West Coast.
“The Japanese spatial philosophy aligns perfectly with Westbank’s philosophy of ‘a total work of art’, which can be found in the smallest components of design and forms the basis of form-making.”
1550 Alberni embraces and invites the public sphere into its design. This symbiotic relationship lends a serenity and harmony to the project. This is further reinforced by all of the design elements and spaces that act both separately and in concert to produce a holistic approach to building design. The domes of the entrance have a natural counterpoint in the amphitheatre space where layers of seating and stacked wood joinery are echoed in the piano design, and the modern interpretation of west coast shingles on the façade.
The landscape design incorporates an abundance of British Columbia timber and a serene Japanese garden. The tower meets the ground with two overlapping domes that embrace the street intersection. The vaulted ceilings are clad in aggregates of wood joinery to form a cloud-like atmosphere. Underneath this wood joinery cloud, an extensive moss garden defines the entrance on Alberni Street, which rises gently to connect to the swimming pool above.