This new development in Vancouver’s downtown Burrard And Nelson involves the historic restoration and expansion of one of Vancouver’s oldest churches, together with the integration of a 550’ luxury residential tower. The lower levels of the tower and its podium are closely integrated into the historic church, with expanded community program space, and a building containing affordable rental housing. The entire complex is designed to extend and integrate into the rich landscape of Vancouver’s West End. The tower reconsiders the typical Vancouver condo building form by introducing shared outdoor garden space on each level. This becomes a social space where more intimate groupings of residents can gather. This outdoor space also reduces the tower’s energy requirements by over 12% by encouraging natural ventilation and reducing conditioned space. The unique form of the tower will provide Vancouver with a vibrant new landmark that marks the highpoint of the downtown peninsula and this historic gateway into the West End.

The design of the Burrard and Nelson site has naturally emerged from a series of urban design, programmatic, and aspirational influences.

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Located at the intersection of Burrard and Nelson Streets, the site forms a gateway into Vancouver’s West End, effectively transitioning from the primarily commercial character of the Downtown District into the peninsula’s most established residential neighbourhood. The site is also at the high point of the downtown peninsula, one of the main reasons that the two flanking churches on Nelson Street were historically located there. While the church’s bell towers have long since been subsumed in the city’s development, the new tower will provided an opportunity to reestablish this gateway and recognize the geographic high point in the downtown. For this reason, the tower shape also relates to the historic use of the site by taking on the form of a series of abstracted church organ pipes. The patterns and fenestration on the tower will further distinguish this building as a dynamic addition to Vancouver’s skyline. The round shapes of the tower plan also minimize view impacts from the surrounding buildings and maximize daylighting opportunities within the units. The organ pipe motif is most apparent at the tower base where the cylinders have been cut back. This shaping honours and reflects the historic church building to the east and clearly identifies the market housing entrance on the west. The chamfered base of the towers also creates a humble transition at grade which respects the openness of the public realm.

Taking its cue from the rich landscape traditions of the West End, landscape plays an important role in the project design, surrounding the tower base and even extending up the tower with trees and gardens integrated into the tower itself. Various building elements have been set back on the site articulating the different uses and also allowing the landscape to further extend into the site. Programmatically, the project has three main components. The first is the church program itself which includes both the existing heritage church (a designated Class A heritage building which will be restored and secured through seismic and other building code improvements) and new spaces to support the congregation’s significant range of services and activities that serve not just the congregation but also the wider community. In order to tie these expanded activities into the historic church in a way that is both respectful of the heritage resources and welcoming to the broader community, a transparent multi-level galleria structure with a welcoming new entrance on Nelson Street connects the historic church to the new church facilities.


The second major programmatic component is rental housing. The rental housing bookends the development on the west side, and while it shares similar cladding materials to the balance of the development, the rental housing form and entry clearly define it as a separate element in the complex. Two rental townhouses flank the main rental building entrance reminiscent of the range of residential building types found in the West End. The third and largest programmatic element of the complex is the market housing component that is located in a single tower carefully sited near the middle of the site. The tower siting respects the historic church while providing a generous setback to any future development to the west. By centering the tower on the neighbouring tower to the north, it reduces view impact to the principal views from that building as they typically emanate from the corners.

The tower building form is also very much a result of the design team’s aspirations to find new and improved ways for vertical communities to form. To this end, the tower has been designed with a series of open gardens on each level. These more intimate semi private spaces provide opportunities for residents to get to know and interact with their neighbours. Effectively a kind of ‘front porch,’ they provide space for personalizing suite entries, common gardens, seating, and perhaps even bike storage. We anticipate that this will allow subcommunities within the larger strata to form and break down the social barriers that are associated with high
rise living. These open areas also provide opportunities for significant energy savings through reduction in conditioned space and improved natural ventilation in the units. These gardens have become an important part of the overall building expression as on every third floor the garden area has been expanded to accommodate larger multilevel trees. In addition to their appearance from below, these trees also provide wind protection to these open spaces.

The proposed development envisions integrating the existing FBC historic structure into a mixed-use complex
that will include the following approximate gross areas:
· 80,000 square feet of community uses, social programs and church activities;
· 50,000 square feet of rental housing including affordable and senior’s housing. This building will contain approximately 66 units with a mix of unit types and sizes ranging from Bachelor suites to 3 Bedroom family units. (Twice the existing units of replacement housing.)
· 460,000 square feet of market condominiums, comprising approximately 294 units, ranging from 1 bedroom to large 3 bedroom and den unit types
· 3,300 square feet of commercial retail space (CRU) at the ground level of the condo tower and heritage building

There are six stories of underground parkade and mezzanine, comprising approximately 497 total parking stalls. Vehicular, bike and loading access is provided off the lane, while drop-off for the church’s ceremonial events is
provided along Nelson Street.

FBC understands that the creation of a transformed facility that simultaneously provides services to the community and a welcoming, architecturally distinguished physical environment is essential. BTA is privileged to be working with FBC and Westbank to create a socially conscious, environmentally responsible and beautiful development. The FBC project represents a bold new chapter in Vancouver’s development.

Building Name:  Burrard and Nelson
Address:  1019 Nelson Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1J1
Developer:  Westbank Projects Corp.
Architect:  Bing Thom Architects Inc.
Interior Design:  N/A
Year Built:  N/A
Prices:  N/A
Unit Sizes:  N/A
Levels:  56
Suites:  295
Property Type:  Residential
Area:  Vancouver
Neighbourhood:  West End
Deposit Structure:  N/A
Cost/Square Foot:  N/A
Monthly Maintenance:  N/A
Cost To Purchase Parking:  N/A
Cost To Purchase Storage:  N/A


Contact Agnieszka Stryjecka for more information on Burrard And Nelson, floor plans & pricing.      TAC Real Estate Corp.      778.991.5881

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