International firm designs for downtown

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Foster has reputation for creating landmarks

Ashley Ford

Artist’s graphic offers impression of the Foster ‘footprint’ on Vancouver.

The internationally-acclaimed architectural firm of Foster and Partners is about to put its design footprint in downtown Vancouver in the shape of a spectacular, glazed, 37-storey retail-office-condo tower at 848 West Hastings.

It will be the London, U.K.-based company’s first foray into Canada. Foster has worked on some of the world’s landmark buildings including the Great Court at the British Museum, the new German Reichstag in Berlin, Hearst Tower in New York and the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank headquarters in Hong Kong.

“A Norman Foster building will not be just a Vancouver landmark but a world landmark,” said Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing Systems who will market the project.

The $175-million development is the brainchild of the Jameson Development Corp. a private Vancouver company. One of its more prominent projects has been the redevelopment of the historic Shaughnessy Mansions at Granville and 15th Avenue.

Scheduled to go into the ground next spring, the yet-to-be-named tower will incorporate two heritage buildings and sit in the middle of the city’s newest heritage-block designation, stretching from Burrard to Richards along West Hastings.

The 1929 Ceperley-Rounsfell Building and the former Chamber of Mines Building — originally The Royal Financial Building — will be preserved and incorporated into the overall development. The Ceperley building will be fully restored with its front and rear mezzanine floors being returned to their original shape. The facade of the Chamber building will be retained.

Apart from its spectacular looks, the building will be a showcase for sustainability and energy efficiency. For example, it is expected to use the same energy as an office building one-third its size.

Featuring three floors of retail, eight storeys of commercial and 25 storeys of condominiums, it will be the the most environmentally sensitive building in the city, Rennie said.

There will be approximately 132 suites and four penthouses with prices ranging from $450,000 to $4 million.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

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