For over a century, Vancouver’s waterfront was an inaccessible industrial site, segmented from downtown and the public. The property sold in 2008 and a few years later LRS joined the design team to transform the dilapidated strip of land into a landmark gateway to the Pacific Northwest.
Undoubtedly, the most prominent feature of the Vancouver Waterfront is the Grant Street Pier. Situated between blocks 9 and 12, the pier extends over the Columbia River and is suspended by large cables, creating the effect of a ship departing harbor.
This maritime aesthetic is found throughout the waterfront development through color palettes, glass coloring, and refined materials. Waterfronts across the globe, including those in Sydney, Helsinki, and Washington, D.C., inspired the design team as they created blocks 9 and 12 as a backdrop to the end-user experience.
Block 9 Design
A contemporary, modernist interpretation of yacht design, this building mirrors the angular edges of the pier. Water-colored glass lines the riverside walls of the building. Rich bamboo cladding brings warmth to the space, playing off the natural materials in the nearby park but is also reminiscent of a ship at sea. This two-story building houses Wildfin American Grill and provides diners with unmatched views.
Block 12 Design
The design of block 12 was intended to complement block 9 by taking the form of a modern boathouse. Simple lines, crisp finishes, and reflective glass encourage interaction between the structure and water. Twigs Bistro, another flagship restaurant for the development, anchors the space and provides and indoor / outdoor restaurant experience.
Basalt was incorporated into the building façade and relates to the riverwalk, which is paved with basalt quarried nearby. Zinc panel cladding, which has been used in buildings for centuries, is also a feature of the buildings and speaks to the expected longevity and timelessness of the project.
The buildings set the overall tone for the entire waterfront redevelopment. They rise elegantly above the water, guiding visitors along the waterfront and riverwalk. Both blocks support the experience of the area and allow visitors to more deeply engage with the Columbia River.