The winners of the Rethinking the Future Awards 2014 were recently announced, and Bjarke Ingels Group and DIALOG took first-place award in the Mixed Use Concept category for their soon to be realized Beach + Howe development in Vancouver.
Other winners included: UN Studio for Residential Concept; HOK Houston for Commercial Built; WOW Architects for Residential Built; IDOM Pvt Ltd. for Institutional Concept; and Biome Environments Pvt Ltd. for Institutional Built.
The abstract for Bjarke Ingels Group and DIALOG’s winning scheme is as follows:
In a single development we are building sufficient critical mass to create a complete neighbourhood with the inclusion of office and work spaces, rental housing, market housing, and retail including a grocery store, drugstore, banking services, and restaurants along with other services such as sports clubs, daycares, and mini-storage facilities.
The site is a particularly challenging one. Situated beside and under a bridge this development will mark the gateway into the city’s dynamic downtown. The form of the tower is generated by a thoughtful and specific response to the site. It combines an extraordinary architectural form and expression with an extraordinary structural solution. The tower and base are a reinvention of the local typology and aims to preserve view cones through the city while activating the pedestrian street. A network of ramps and stairwells connect the surrounding activated streetscapes with raised intimate internal plazas that serve as both visual amenity and informal gathering space. The design transforms a vestigial and relatively invisible site under the bridge into a dynamic and iconic mixed-use neighbourhood hub.
The landscape strategy promotes a simple yet robust palette of materials, vegetation, site furnishing, and lighting that will highlight the prominence of the architecture while creating a strong and generous foundation for a diversity of everyday activities and specialized programs.
The initial step towards the sustainability strategy was to choose a location that will encompass smart-growth principles and create a dynamic sustainable hub in a residentially intensive community. On the urban scale, LEED for neighbourhood development as well as LEED ND Platinum Certification have been targeted. On the architectural scale, the vital elements of intensification, connections to the city, resource management, and transit-oriented development are the values which will feed into the individual buildings with a LEED Gold target.
The residential tower has a unique appearance that changes from every angle. A series of views of the tower with different heights and from different urban locations defines the new skyline. The development is defined by several buildings, the tower being clearly the most visible of all them; in order to create a sense of unity in the development, the façades of the rest of the buildings (podiums) are designed as variations of the same principles used in the tower: the brick pattern is used as a system applied and adjusted differently in each building.
This new neighbourhood addresses our communities’ desire for truly sustainable developments. A model that is distinct from any other as it completely embraces the neighbourhood’s unique characteristics by animating the underside of the bridge and ramps by engaging the public realm turning a blight in the city into a dynamic public place. The development will be part of a new phase in the city’s short but successful history of urban policy. It will mark the entry point into downtown from the bridge, forming a gateway to the city.
The competition drew registrations from 83 countries in 10 broad categories: Residential Building, Public Building, Institutional Building, Commercial Building, Urban Design, Landscape Design, Interior Commercial, Interior Corporate and Interior Residential.