American architecture studio Kohn Pedersen Fox has created a glass-clad skyscraper with an undulating facade and parapets on a sloped site in downtown Vancouver.
Located on a sloping site near Vancouver’s waterfront, 320 Granville is a 30-storey skyscraper designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) to host offices in the Canadian city’s urban core.
The building, which is clad in glass with powder-coated aluminium framing, sits among the modern and classical buildings of its surroundings. KPF wanted it to also respond to the site’s waterside location.
The brief was to design an office building that would take best advantage of an amazing site, where Granville comes down to the Waterfront Station,” said KPF president James von Klemperer.
“Given this location, the natural inclination was to design a building that would respond to the seaside environment.”
The skyscraper’s relationship to the water was expressed formally in a series of concave and convex undulations on the facade of the building, which give it rounded edges at its three corners, where it conforms to the corner of the block.
Between each of the floor plates, the glass that bands the 10-foot-tall storeys were given additional variety up the facade, adding to the rippling effect.
“The curved form of the tower, and the waved top parapets, reflect our idea of giving the building an aqueous form,” said von Klemperer.
“The resulting light reflections and scalloped shadows have the effect of breaking down the scale of the tower.”
Because of the city’s restrictions to maintain the lines of sight for surrounding buildings, the tower’s height was capped.
Von Klemperer said that the form of the tower was designed to create a visual effect that would make it seem taller when viewed from certain angles.
“When seen from oblique angles, the volume of the tower appears to be made up of bundled turrets, accentuating the building’s vertical proportions,” he continued.
At street level, the building engages with the busy thoroughfare by having a recessed entry, with massive columns supporting the cantilevered edges of the upper floors, which reach out towards the street.
Flanking the entry program is a series of floor plates that work to shelter the area around the building from the rainy Vancouver winters.
Also on the ground floor is a cafe that is open to the public, while the lobby and other ground floor programs are open to the street via the double-height glass curtain wall.
The building’s interiors are pared back, with stone floors and wooden battens on the ceilings of the public spaces. It also houses bike storage and other amenities such as a rooftop terrace.
KPF was founded in 1976 in New York. Other recent projects by the studio include the Scalpel skyscraper in London and an upcoming supertall skyscraper in Austin, Texas.
The photography is by Ema Peter.