Year Built 2007
Architect Rafii Architects
Interior Designer Ledingham Design
Total number of residences 138
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Some Vancouver residential towers make a splash when first constructed; others are ‘sleepers’ who accrue admiration and value through the years, as the innate strength of their original design features become apparent. Pomaria is such a building. Pomaria was an early pioneer in what is fast becoming one of the most important groupings of prestige luxury condo towers in Vancouver.
At Beach and Howe is 888 Beach, the James Cheng double tower on townhouse base that in the late 1980s initiated what is now world-famous as the “Vancouverist Typology”: thin condo towers on continuous townhouse podiums. The urban amenity contribution from that project built the public park at Howe and Beach that now provides the southern edge to Pomaria. More recently, the impressive Vancouver House development rose immediately across the street, Westbank’s condo/office/retail development nestled against the Granville Bridge, a design by Bjarke Ingels of BIG.
Pomaria is a 31 storey building in a variation of the tower and podium arrangement, and was completed in 2007. The developer was Qualax-Landmark, and it received the Urban Development Institute Award as best Vancouver high rise residential tower the year it opened. The design is from Rafii Architects, where the project architect was Robert Kleyn.
There are some key features that set it apart from the pack. A portion of the podium section was granted live-work zoning, meaning licensed businesses can be operated from these units. Pomaria was also ahead of the curve by being the first LEED-certified multi-unit residential building within the City of Vancouver and the third in British Columbia. Achieved in part by using geothermal technology to reduce its carbon footprint, which in turn produced the need for a water feature in the alley courtyard to scrub excess heat in summer. Pomaria also showed environmental leadership by installing a green roof before this became near-standard practice in Vancouver.
Part of its signature and environmental connectivity are two recessed Skygardens, one on the 16th floor for the 4 units on that floor while the larger Skygarden is on level 19 for the use of the 3 strata lots on that floor. Both Skygardens expand upwards for 3 levels.
Kleyn’s design successfully questions some prevailing assumptions of Vancouver luxury housing in the early 2000s. Many architects strove to have individual physical expression of the form of each housing unit, forming into a kind of historic hill-town effect as they rise up a slope, as Howe does here. Rather than creating individual massing for Pomaria’s townhouses, Kleyn grouped them into blocks of single buildings.
Similarly, in reacting against the bare glass and concrete boxes prevailing then, Kleyn’s tower design is unusually articulated—a variety of expressions is used to make each elevation different. For example, one side of the tower is splayed, making it appear much slenderer from below.
Generally, building structure is frankly expressed on the exterior, most noticeably in the form of a super-order grid (white concrete frame two storeys high) that runs up two of the elevations, an element which accentuates their verticality. These super-order grid rises in front of gaps and take off up from roof decks, forming frames in the sky.
Some of these design elements are in dialogue with James Cheng’s 888 Beach, then Kleyn’s innovations in turn prompt responses from Bjarke Ingels’ Vancouver House, an unusual and needed Vancouver dialogue of design. Lower Howe Street has become Vancouver’s locus of housing innovation.
You’ll find stylish modern residences, ranging from 1-3 bedrooms, with well-considered floorplans that maximize the use of space. Floors are numbered sequentially right through to the 2 penthouse levels on floors 29 and 30.
There are 26 townhomes are on the north, east, and south sides but not the west side facing the back alley. The 4 townhomes along Pacific Street are zoned live/work and house white collar companies. Those and half of the townhomes along Howe Street have 2 levels of interior space and rooftop patios. The townhomes further down Howe and those facing the park are stacked, meaning the townhomes at street level have another townhome on top of them.
DOCUMENT: Pomaria developers feature list
Highlights of the developer specifications:
- geothermal – source space heating and air conditioning
- floor-to-ceiling windows
- solid 8-foot stained oak suite entry doors
- wool carpet in bedrooms
- wool carpet inlay with 12” x 24” imported Italian porcelain tile surround in majority of living areas
- 12” X 24” imported Italian porcelain tile in entry, kitchen, bathrooms, and storage
- recessed pot lights throughout
- Sub-Zero and GE appliances in kitchen
- custom stone counter tops with back painted glass backsplash in kitchen
- custom stained oak cabinetry in kitchen and bathrooms
- back painted glass tile tub and shower surrounds
- frameless glass shower enclosures in some bathrooms
- soaker tub in some bathrooms
Pomaria features a copper statue of Desiderius Erasmus, a 15th century Dutch theologian. The statue was sculpted by Rodney James, a Vancouver-born musician and artist.
This neighbourhood is undergoing an incredible transformation. The Vancouver House development across Howe Street anchors the new Beach District, a public realm modelled after Granville Island complete with a grocery store, pharmacy, cafe, restaurants, and space for performances. The City of Vancouver is planning to redevelop the nearby Granville Bridge Loops and there’ll be a new substantial tower at the 600 block of Beach Crescent. Collectively these will add considerable retail, office, and public space.
Within a 5 minutes walk
- Retail and services in the podium of Vancouver House (future)
- Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
- Tartine Bread & Pies
- George Wainborn Park
- Little Beach YMCA Child Care
- Longtable Distillery
- Retail and services once the Granville Loops are redeveloped (future)
Within a 5-10 minutes walk
- Meinhardt (to be built within Burrard Place at Hornby and Drake Streets)
- Choices Market
- Bin 941 Tapas Parlour
- Giardino Restaurant
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- Musette Cafe
- TAPshack – Burrard Bridge
- Vancouver Aquatic Centre
- Roundhouse Community Centre
- Sunset Beach Park
- David Lam Park
- Emery Barnes Park
- Marquis Wine Cellars