Starchitect lands in Canada – Bjarke Ingels

Some of you may know about Vancouver House going up along Howe Street at Pacific Boulevard and right up against the Howe Street onramp for the Granville Street Bridge. It is Danish starchitect, Bjarke Ingels‘, huge stamp on the Vancouver skyline.


The giant tower will contort it’s frame over part of the bridge in architectural yoga pose in the sky. It’s an impressive looking building in the computer renditions. It may be just as promising when it is finished.


What will be more impressive about Vancouver House is not the tower itself, but how the new structure interacts with life on the street level. The renderings of what life under the Granville Street Bridge just next to the tower show a very unique change at the street level. It will be very interesting to see if Ingels’s vision is pulled off well. The chandelier hanging above Beach Avenue just under the bridge will be the piece de resistance, if it is done well.


Bjarke Ingels is also embarking on a couple of other projects in Canada. He is working on Telus Sky in Calgary. However, it looks like he just took Vancouver House, turned upside down, and smacked a new name on it. (Or is Vancouver House the upside-down copy of Telus Sky).


In Toronto, he’s starting on a huge yet-to-be-named project along King Street West near Spadina Avenue. It looks like a giant ziggurat is going to placed at the edge of downtown Toronto. Some people have called the project a collection of pixelated boxes punching into the sky.


Bjarke Ingels himself just gave a livestream broadcast on the project itself. The project certainly looks very different from anything else in Toronto. The massiveness and the scale of the project is something that we rarely see in Vancouver, but can easily be found in Toronto. I will be interested again to see how the building interacts at the street level. That’s the level where people will interact with the project and ultimately judge whether the space is good for addition to urban life.


I am all for unique urban spaces that bring more “interestingness” to our daily lives. Once these projects are done, the public will be the final judge as to whether Bjarke Ingels visions will be a success, a failure, or something in between.

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