When background becomes foreground
Singular among all North American cities, Vancouver’s downtown world of high rise residential towers presents an urban environment that hybridizes the value of views to breathtaking land and seascapes with an interest in community and density. The basic unit of this morphology, a 25-to 30 story tower placed on a podium that typically fills a site footprint, has been developed as a product based on construction logic (repetition) and programmatic necessity (views), giving the city a visual coherence that perhaps now just might border on uniformity.
At 902 Davie, the building is made up of stratified elements that both conform to the logic of core to perimeter dimensions of the micro lofts, but also to the zoning that affects the site. The podium, lower base, middle block, and truncated top block are shaped by the contingencies of the situation. Each one of these strata or blocks includes a corner void that has been cut out of the original form that creates local cantilevers and momentary disruptions in the extrusion of the mass. The treatment of the facades articulates the tension between foreground and background, with ironically, the negative spaces positioned as “unique” elements within the field. We have chosen to work directly with the program demands as a way to make a simple building surface stand out, oddly enough, against the context. In combination with the highly impastoed red surfaces of the voids, the overall graphic and formal effect of the project contrasts the straightforward against the sculptural.
Source: Neil M. Denari Architects