Year Built 2016
Developer Westbank Projects
Architect Henriquez Partners
Total number of residences 428
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Telecom Telus moved its corporate headquarters to this almost entire block developer Westbank assembled in the downtown core, but space was left for a residential tower, one of the first in Vancouver to put sustainability features at the core of its conception. The entire Telus Garden office-residential complex comprises nearly one million square feet of new construction costing $750 million. The residential tower is 46 storeys high and includes 424 apartments. It sits alongside a 22 level commercial and retail tower. While the two towers are physically integrated below floor 5, the towers are operated separately.
Developed as a joint venture between Telus and Westbank, the entire complex is heated and cooled by a single plant. This creates significant energy savings for the residential tower, as surplus heat from the office portion (with lights, equipment and many heat-generating workers, office towers require air conditioning, even in winter) is used to heat the condos, rather than wasted. Solar shades on the tower’s exterior diminish demand for air conditioning, and there are green roofs and gardens in the air throughout, the inspiration for its marketing name of Telus Garden.
Other green features include the recycling of rainwater from roofs, solar panels generating a portion of energy needs, and some of Vancouver’s first electrical charging stations for automobiles. Overall, the Telus Garden residential building uses thirty percent less energy than comparable Vancouver towers, and is one of the first in the city to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The architecture by Henriquez Partners strives to create a visual identity for the residences separate from the adjacent office and commercial structures. Rather than the slick verticality of many local glass towers, some strong horizontal elements—the sun shades, and green-coloured projecting fins—are included, breaking down the scale of the building. These elements change on each of the four sides of the building in concert with its energy conservation ethos—north is not the same as south when it comes to controlling sunlight.
Further particularization of the tower’s elevations is created through a variety of balcony types, depending on the size and character of the unit they serve. For example, studio and one-bedroom units have small, recessed balconies which are sheltered from the wind, while larger ones have wider and longer balconies projecting out from the apartment window lines.
Resident’s amenities include a rare-in-Vancouver year-round operated outdoor lap pool. Continuing the green and local theme, the garden design by PFS Studio emphasizes a local plant palette. The floors of the tower are slightly splayed, in order to provide light and views to the tightly-packed sister buildings. The one longer side of the resulting trapezoidal floorplates leaves more room for larger two-plus-den and three bedroom apartments at that end. This is done while maintaining a high net to gross ratio of usable apartments versus corridors, as the plans by Henriquez Partners Architects are very efficient.
As has been the case in Toronto and especially New York, the success of Telus Garden helped establish the desirability of living in the commercial core, with offices and large stores nearby only making things more interesting. Density with amenity near transit is the city-building formula that has shaped Vancouver, and Telus Garden is an excellent example of all of these at work.
The residential tower is 46 levels high, however, the floor numbering reaches floor 53 as the floor numbering excludes floors 4, 13, 14, 24, 34, and 44. The lower floors include the lobby and the amenities are found on floor 5. Residences are found on floors 6 though 53. The building sits atop 7 levels of parking, residential parking is on P2 through P7.
The building offers a collection of 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 2 bedroom plus den, and 3 bedroom floorplans.
The commercial tower has sections cantilevered out over Seymour and Richards Streets. Underneath, the protruding sections are lite to enliven the streetscape at night.
According to Ian Gillespie in Building Artistry, 2012, it took over 100 design iterations to arrive at the current form of the canopy undulating along West Georgia Street. The below video shows the construction of one of its supports.