By : ACDF Architecture, IBI Group
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 15e édition
Discipline : Architecture
Categories : Residential Building / Apartment & Condo ≥ 10 storeys : Silver Certification
As one of several new additions to the Vancouver skyline, The Pacific has earned its place alongside cutting-edge buildings designed by some of the world’s most renowned architects. Rather than competing within Vancouver’s already dense and varied landscape of tall buildings, the architectural firm adopted a more complementary approach, prioritizing clean, subtle, and human scale elements to provide a wealth of urban experiences among the more dramatic architectural gestures of neighbouring buildings.
The approach began with numerous elemental considerations, including a strong focus on creating dialogue at street level with pedestrians and the downtown neighborhood. The firm focused on the development of shape and form, with a simple massing that would capture attention through its textures, the quality of its assembly, and the transposition of its details.
The firm envisioned a structure whose materiality would emit its own unique character while blending into the built, environmental, and social fabric of its surroundings. In a return to design principles inspired by art, photography, and fashion, the firm’s powerful integration of contrasts paints and frames.
The Pacific is a visual landmark devoid of sculptural drama. Vertically, the structure’s slick north and south facades, layered with glass and black granite, contrast with its more pictural east and west facades, with the latter featuring protruding triangular balconies in a woven pattern. The firm was committed to ensuring that The Pacific was grounded at its base to the site’s location, its history, and the vibe of the street, not just in terms of materials, but also in terms of how the building would be viewed from the ground up. From its street-level, vertical views are enriched by balcony textures, including three tones of grey on their undersides (inspired by cloud formations) and create a sense of movement within their patterns.
The triangular balconies above also play on reflection to the streets below. As the sun sets on the city, the Pacific tower begins to glow, reflecting light downward from the white, marble-like porcelain finish of these balconies, as well as a pinkish hue that emanates from the stainless-steel framing. During those transitions of light, two facades begin to glow, while the other two sides fade to darkness.
Leading up to the entrance of the tower, the firm designed a long, dramatic colonnade. Oversized, angular columns are purposefully misaligned and brought to life by a local artist who created 9 large mosaics from pieces of smalti glass, cut and assembled by hand by Montreal artisans.
The Pacific sits adjacent to a small, heritage house, which originally served as a private residence before being transformed multiple times. The firm took great strides to consider the heritage property (known fondly by Vancouver residents as the “Yellow House”) at the lobby-level of the development. The tower’s two-storey lobby and the warm tones of the streetside columns blend nicely with the adjacent property.
Sophisticated and impeccably dressed, yet remarkably accessible to the rank and file, The Pacific solidifies the firm’s transition to a mindful approach that is more efficient, inclusive, and contributory to the pedestrian interface, where humanity is positioned as the primary material, and new standards are being established for creating emotion without extravagance.