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KPF-designed tower will replace parking garage on historic Vancouver block

Patent Pender

KPF-designed tower will replace parking garage on historic Vancouver block

Just granted with approval from Vancouver City Council, 601 West Pender Street is one of several high-rise projects completed or underway in the vertically-oriented British Columbian city.(Lemons Bucket/Courtesy Kohn Pedersen Fox)

Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has revealed that the firm’s commercial high-rise development project at 601 West Pender Street in downtown Vancouver received unanimous consent to proceed earlier this month from the Vancouver City Council, following approval of the projects rezoning application.

Featuring 29 stories of premium office space that will top a retail base sheltered by a vegetated pedestrian canopy, the crowning two floors of the Reliance Properties-developed high-rise will be chock-full of amenities—a lounge, sauna, steam rooms, wellness center, and expansive roof deck spread across 16,000 square feet—for the exclusive use of the building’s future tenants.

The design of the tower, which is clad in a gridded metal facade, is described as KPF as being “sensitive in both scale and materiality” and complementary to the heritage buildings that it will soon share a city block with including the Rogers Building—an iconic Vancouver Heritage Foundation site. Modern but satisfyingly unifying, the building will serve as a welcome replacement for the uninspired six-story parking garage that currently stands at the site.

Illustration of a planned office tower for 601 W Pender St in Vancouver
The immediate neighbor of KPF’s new Vancouver office tower is the Rogers Building, a local landmark at the corner of Granville and Pender built in 1912. (Lemons Bucket/Courtesy KPF)

“We felt the best way to complete this block of heritage buildings was to create a building that was at once modern and timeless and accentuates its context with scale and color—while bringing nature into the urban fabric,” said Marianne Kwok, KPF design director, in a statement.

The tower’s facade serves as the primary unifying element with its stately early 20th-century neighbors. As KPF elaborated in a press announcement:

 “A fold is introduced to the building’s grid frame to achieve a woven appearance that plays with light to create depth. A warm metal in two finishes—textured and flat—adds unexpected color and reflectivity, and counteracts the typically overcast local climate.”

“While the glass in the main tower is flat, at the top and bottom the façade folds inwards to create pockets of green space, a wider public realm at the base, and views into retail and amenity spaces. The redevelopment will reestablish the pink motif on the tower’s lower level walls facing the Alley Oop laneway, and will consider incorporating a retractable roof scrim as well as new lighting to enhance its sense of place.”

KPF went on to add that the building will bring an “interplay of light, reflection, and nature to the Vancouver skyline,” something seemingly bolstered in the renderings by the tower’s ample glazing.

Illustration of 601 West Pender Street in Vancouver
Located at a busy intersection in the heart of Vancouver’s central business district, 601 W. Pender Street both stands out from and complements older neighboring buildings. (Lemons Bucket/Courtesy KPF)

The New York-headquartered firm is working alongside landscape architecture firm Enns Gauthier and Chris Dikeakos Architects, which will serve as architect of record, on the project. Both are based in British Columbia.

KPF is enjoying a growing presence in and around Vancouver. Other completed, in-development, and under-construction projects include 1698 West Georgia, a West End luxury condo tower; MNP Tower, a 35-story waterfront office high-rise; and Bosa Waterfront, a highly anticipated new addition to the city’s Financial District that will rise 30 stories above Vancouver Harbour.

601 West Pender Street is slated for completion in 2025.