Westbank has built a practice around long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability and city-building. These commitments underlie an orientation towards projects like Woodwards, Vancouver House, Mirvish Village, Telus Garden and Oakridge – catalysts for larger change that go beyond the borders of the projects themselves. We are here to create. To provoke. To ignite. We are the vehicle for a new movement of cultural expression.

As the practice matures, we have become more ambitious. With every new project reflecting our commitment to the philosophy behind Gesamkunstwerk, or in our recent work the Japanese philosophy behind layering, the net effect is that our work becomes much more complex and far-reaching.

The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including luxury residential, Five Star hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy systems, affordable housing initiatives and public art. Established in 1992, we are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development.

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May 22, 2014

Westbank Salon Series: Bruce Haden Recap

One of the most thrilling things for those behind the Westbank Salon Series is seeing the interaction between our incredibly engaging salon speakers and attendees, many of whom are dedicated regulars.

Our latest guest was Bruce Haden, a partner at DIALOG and DIALOG partner-in-charge for the Vancouver House collaboration with the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Like his salon predecessors, he started his talk with career origins and how he was drawn to architecture because it “combined poetry and science.” Also like his salon predecessors, Bruce spoke of the need for an edgier Vancouver, showing a vintage photo of Granville Island, a place he feels has lost its original grit. He also showed what our downtown waterfront could have looked by displaying the waterfront in Copenhagen, with its lively bustling crowd and vendors, and pointed out that we don’t have to have the same type of public realm everywhere in the city.


Bruce described the design of Vancouver House to a fascinated audience, stopping to use his drawing board to sketch it out. The soon-to-come building, he said, has a “profound contrast between polish and ruggedness” and a degree of brightness to offset the scale of the building.


Congratulations to Jason Sedar, this week’s #gwerksalon winner! His winning question centred around how local enthusiasm and understanding in Vancouver has changed, for better or for worse.


Echoing previous guest speaker Chris Phillips of PFS Studio, he referred to an enlightening moment during the 2010 Olympics, watching people enjoy public spaces in a more experiential way. For Bruce, Vancouver has gone from a city where design fundamentals were suburban and traditional to one where its people have more of a passion for density and seeing the comforts in density, as well as seeing the city with “sensual possibilities.”

Now, that is the kind of Vancouver we should continue to be.

“We need to be careful of simplistic definitions of what success means.” – Bruce Haden on city-building & creating ‘grit’

Our next salon is on Saturday May 31, 2014, at 4pm with Jeff Derksen, a poet, urban critic and Professor of English at Simon Fraser University.

RSVP here!



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