We have called this project The Butterfly, in honor of the working title architect Bing Thom came up with for the concept. We felt it was deserved because of the effect this project will have on Vancouver’s skyline.
It started out as an impossible idea: to build homes in the sky, housed within a vertical neighbourhood of outdoor spaces, a sense of being one with nature and of belonging in your built environment. To give familiarity to change and an openness, yet with privacy.
When Bing Thom first walked the site with Ian five years ago, we asked him for pure light, fluidity and a place that could hold within a connection to nature while connecting us to each other. We wanted to change the high-rise typology.
What Bing gave us will become a defining presence on the Vancouver skyline, as light and ephemeral as it is distinct. The Butterfly returns to the fundamentals of nature, using natural light, natural ventilation and natural forms. Curved glass expands your horizons as far as the eye can see. Sculptural, concrete forms create a façade of waving clouds. Open-air breezeways allow sunlight and stars to shine through. Every third floor holds a tree, each part of your interior garden. Your dining table emerges organically from the kitchen counter, as a gently curving shape that barely touches the ground. Glass panels and semi-transparent curtains allow natural light to flood into your home and shadows scatter, creating ever-changing scenes. Pure white floors, ceilings and glass walls, dissolve structural confines creating the sensation of continuous space and a beautiful state of permanent motion.
With Bing we have created homes in the sky. Bing Thom was internationally renowned for his architecture, but though he grew up in Vancouver and called our city home, too few know his work or his dedication to creating buildings that uplift and transform the communities of which they form a part. Together, we made a promise that we would fight together for this beauty, against all the forces demanding us to compromise our vision, to create a gift for the city that would speak to our values.
With Bing Thom, we pursued a butterfly-effect made of all the impossibles magnified as powerful possibilities: in the quality of life in our city, in the revival of a key artery in our community, in the restoration of a monument that represents the history of Vancouver in a gentle but powerful contribution to our skyline.
The enormous challenges we were presented with, the newness of the solutions we have found and the meaning we found in bringing this work to life, are all carried with lightness. The impossible has become real, as light and ephemeral as it is protective and cocooned. The impossible has metamorphosed into The Butterfly.