Vancouver is soon to have a new edition of the starchitect interpretation of building with London England’s Heatherwick Studio’s proposed towers at 1728 Alberni Street and 735 Bidwell Street. The Heatherwick Studio realized that there might be a bit of a shock value to the proposal of two popsicle lump towers that look like inverted spark plugs. They cleverly have gone into “the best defense is a great offense” mode by putting down all the rest of Vancouver’s architecture to make theirs appear, well, more attractive.
Susan Lazaruk has written about this potential application in the Vancouver Sun. As Ms. Lazaruk writes, the architects find Vancouver design “sterile and boring” and their winding buildings are to emulate trees, connecting the public at ground level to the top of the towers. You can read through the over 300 page application here.
Wry commenters have already mentioned that the song “99 Luft Balloons” would be a suitable theme for the building, and that probably should be piped as elevator muzak in the reception area.
The Heatherwick Studio are the same folks that built “The Vessel” in New York City which I wrote about earlier.That 15 storey public art installation with 2,500 stairs and 80 landings cost the developers of Hudson Yards 200 million dollars (that’s US dollars) and provides ” a vertical climbing experience” and has “Vessel Ambassadors” to serve as onsite assistants. Don’t ask if it is fully accessible. It’s not.
The Vessel has already been pretty well dissed by architectural critics and some of the public as being an expensive confection that is just not that practical.
One architectural writer went one step further, calling The Vessel “a piece of urban costume jewellery, a gawdy bauble without purpose beyond shallow adornment” and ” a billionaire’s fantasy of the future of city life”. It’s no surprise that Heatherwick Studio took exception, and you can read some of their responses here on Dezeen.
But back to Vancouver and the Heatherwick proposal of 401 condominium units in two towers on a base.
While the architects say that the towers are 30 stories with the tower base I counted closer to 40 on the model. The design, the scale, the busy pattern, makes this appear as the scissor cut out of New York City’s Vessel.
Some of it has a retro feel~like the pool which looks like a polynesian roofline from The Bayshore Hotel’s old Trader Vic’s Polynesian themed bar. The bigger question will be who will live in these condos and what the price point will be for units that probably will be out of reach of most Vancouverites.
But we will be able to look at them.
You can click on the YouTube video below to learn a bit more about Thomas Heatherwick and the Heatherwick Studio, which has designed everything from bridges to buses, and in our case, this newest Vancouver building rezoning proposal.