The Alberni

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Address 1550 Alberni Street
Neighbourhood West End
Year Built Est. 2020
Developer Westbank Projects
Architect Kengo Kuma
Interior Designer Kengo Kuma
Floors 43
Total number of residences 181

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Introduction

As downtown Vancouver’s West End, Coal Harbour and Yaletown neighbourhoods become ever higher and denser, there comes increasing need for places of pause, reflection and the re-charge that only nature can provide. Tokyo architect Kengo Kuma had never designed a high-rise residential tower when offered the opportunity to build here by Westbank. Kuma has built a reputation around the world for his highly inventive buildings, often using wood in unconventional ways, or dramatic structures sustained by creative framing and textures that seem effortless, but are actually the products of intense design research.

Very impressed with Vancouver’s quality of life and natural setting, he was surprised and disappointed with the “extruded” forms and repetitive detailing of our residential towers. Surrounded by such towers and with several condo buildings rising nearby the site at Nicola and Alberni, Kuma convinced his clients and city planners to try something very new, something that would create a green oasis of relief nestled amidst the concrete.

Instead of apartments on the bottom four floors, this portion of the building is scooped away, framed only by structural outriggers curving out to support the tower that will reach 434 feet high. A lattice of randomly-angled wood members creates a spectacular underside to the tower, an explosion of natural material in an urban zone of steel and glass. The ground plane is largely given over to a sheltered public park, a resident’s zone covered with ferns and mosses that will thrive away from direct light, flanked by a high-end Japanese restaurant, also to be designed by Kuma.

While most residential towers in this area are oriented northwards towards Coal Harbour and the North Shore Mountains, the architect wanted to balance this with an inflection towards Robson Street, False Creek and the maximum sunlight to the south. With this in mind, the tower performs a lithe and sensual dance as it rises, these curving movements generously maintaining partial vistas for neighbouring buildings, while also establishing a creative identity in a forest of conformity.

The Alberni is as innovative in the smallest of details as it is in overall form. The sides are clad in a seemingly random pattern of alternating metal ‘shingle’ panels, alternating with large windows. The randomness is not some conceit of artistry, but the reflection of the different unit types behind them, the differing wall treatment varying whether there are to be living, kitchen, bathroom or bedroom activities located behind them. While doing this, the metal shingle system is also a means of conforming with new City of Vancouver energy codes, which require forty percent of condo tower elevations to be opaque and insulated, a big change from the wasteful mainly-glass walls of recent decades.

Excellence in architecture is the result of a modest attitude toward the times, and such an attitude enables a building to transcend the times and survive.
Kengo Kuma, Founder of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Interior finishes—for both suites and Alberni’s public areas—will be unusually warm-coloured and deeply-textured. Kuma’s team’s knowledge of 2000 years of Japanese wood-working will be evident in the walls and concierge desk of the lobby, ceiling treatments in bathrooms, even the walls of amenity rooms such as the aerobic studio or resident’s library and music lounge. Setting out to establish a new datum of design innovation, Westbank and Kuma have ensured this will be like no other residential tower ever built.

DOCUMENT: Kengo Kuma – Letter of Intent to City of Vancouver

BOOK: Layering – book introducing The Alberni

VIDEO: Showcasing the design theme for The Alberni.

VIDEO: Other projects undertaken by Kengo Kuma, Architect of The Alberni.

Amenities
pool / fitness centre / listening lounge / amphitheatre
Residences

The development application projected the 181 residences to be:

  • 4 studio homes (levels 3 through 6)
  • 17 one bedroom homes (levels 3 through 11)
  • 140 two bedroom homes (levels 4 through 35)
  • 17 three bedroom homes (levels 27 through 40)
  • 3 penthouse homes (level 41)

Residences will feature:

  • oak floors, lightly painted white
  • kitchen quartzite countertops, vibration-finished stainless steel backsplashes and oak-veneer cabinetry
  • major appliances are by Miele
  • porcelain tiles and travertine in bathrooms
  • Japanese baths in some bathrooms
  • gorgeous wood slat defining the space for the bed
  • floor to ceiling glazing
  • a Japanese garden in some residences
Notable Features

International perspectives – Following the success of bringing Bjarke Ingels Group to Vancouver to design Vancouver House, Westbank retained Kengo Kuma from Tokyo to Vancouver for his first tower in North America. This continued the trend of commissioning internationally acclaimed architects to Vancouver projects. Fresh perspective and further jettison the stigma of uniform architecture.

Neighbourhood

The Alberni is well positioned near the numerous restaurants, shops, and cafes along Robson Street. Traveling east on Alberni Street will take you to a luxury retail area. Both the seawall and Stanley Park are nearby for relaxation or sports activities and a bike route is next to the building along Cardero Street.

There are a number of buildings planned for the surrounding few blocks. Other buildings will help reestablish the architectural importance of West Georgia Street within our downtown peninsula. Another wonderfully unique building design is Bosa Development’s Fifteen Fifteen.

You can reach enjoy the following amenities in under 5 minutes from your front door:

  • Whole Foods
  • Safeway
  • Cardero’s Restaurant
  • Lift Bar & Grill
  • Restaurants along Robson Street

You can walk to the following amenities in 5-10 minutes:

  • Coal Harbour seawall
  • Coal Harbour Community Centre
  • Coal Harbour Marina
  • West End Community Centre
  • Stanley Park
  • Burberry
  • Urban Fare
  • Equinox Gym
  • Market by Jean-Georges at Shangri-La
  • Forage
  • The Keg
  • JJ Bean
  • Milano Espresso Bar
  • BC Liquor Store

Map

Floorplans

    Residence 301
    817 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 302
    757 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 303
    702 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 304
    659 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 401
    833 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 406
    629 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 501
    1042 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 503
    757 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 505
    629 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 601
    874 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 603
    769 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 604
    802 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 605
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 606
    845 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 701
    932 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 705
    759 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 706
    783 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 707
    494 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 708
    845 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 802
    742 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 805
    756 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 806
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 807
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 808
    845 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 902
    742 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 905
    756 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 906
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 907
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 908
    838 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1002
    742 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1005
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1006
    489 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1007
    838 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1102
    742 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1105
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1106
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 1107
    843 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1204
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1205
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 1206
    843 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1304
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1305
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 1306
    843 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1404
    788 sf
    Balcony
    Residence 1405
    489 sf
    No Balcony
    Residence 1406
    843 sf
    Balcony

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