Vancouver Convention Centre West

DA Architects + Planners, Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership,

and LMN Architects

Jury Comments: This project takes a common, large and often mundane building form that does not usually integrate well into the city and makes it fit perfectly on a very tight, water-edge site. With great skill, the building is constructed as a bridge over an existing rail line and extending over the shoreline as piles. With a huge 2.5 hectare vegetated roof, this is a building as landscape with excellent sustainability technologies that make this project a leap forward in sustainable design, and a transformative building.

The 108,000m2 building, the world’s first LEED Platinum Convention Centre, was designed to integrate the architecture with the ecology of the waterfront site. A 450m ‘habitat skirt’ in the inter-tidal zone at the base of the building comprised a series of concrete shelves and shallow recesses designed to encourage the re-establishment of marine life along this formerly industrial water edge.

The six acre [2,5 ha] vegetated roof, the largest and most sophisticated in Canada, replicates the plant species of the coastal grasslands to create a habitat for birds and honey bees. The roof incorporates runnels or waterways to ensure even distribution of irrigation water.

In a move that is rare in buildings of this type, the lobbies and other public spaces are located on the exterior faces of the building to orient those inside and provide expansive views to the harbour and mountains. Even special function spaces such as the first-floor ballroom, and the 1,000m2 of third-floor meeting rooms have access to daylight. Operable windows in the west pre-function area provide some natural ventilation. All lighting can be controlled centrally and locally.

There is a black water treatment facility that treats the black and grey water and re-uses it to irrigate the green roof and for toilet flushing. Along with use of water-conserving fixtures, the water savings add up to 72% relative to a reference building.
A sea water heat pump helps cool the building during the warm months, and heats the building during the cold months, greatly reducing the requirements for conventional HVAC systems. The radiant heating and cooling piping in the perimeter concrete floors reduces cooling load on the air systems by 40% by absorbing solar load, and provides warmth in winter so that air systems need not operate at night. The building is projected to use 50% less energy than the reference building under MNECB.

The foundation uses 900 steel piles connected with concrete grade beams to make a platform for the steel frame construction. BC wood on the ceilings and walls adds warmth, and the building has a projected design service life of 50 to 99 years.

Note: See SABMag issue 21, Jan/Feb 2010 at for a case study of the vegetated roof.

  • Client  BC Pavilion Corporation [Pavco]
    Architect  Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, DA Architects + Planners, LMN Architects
  • Building Code Consultant  LMDG Building Code Consultants Ltd.
  • Civil Engineer  Intercad Services Ltd.
  • Cost Consultant  BTY Group
  • Civil Engineer  Intercad Services Ltd.
  • Electrical Engineer Schenke/Bawol Engineering Ltd.
  • Mechanical Engineer  Stantec Consulting
  • Structural Engineer  Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers
  • Acoustical Consultant  Arup Acoustics
  • Commissioning Agent  K.D. Engineering Co.
  • General Contractor  PCL Constructors West Coast Inc.
  • Horticultural & Ecological Consultation  Rana Creek Habitat Restoration
  • Landscape Architect  PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
  • Marine Consultant  Worleyparsons Westmar
  • Environmental Consultant  EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd.
  • Habitat Skirt  Surespan Construction Ltd.
  • Plant Propagation for Living Roof  Nat’s Nursery
  • Sustainable Living Roof System  Flynn Canada Ltd.
  • Photos  Flynn Canada, Ema Peter Photography, Kristopher Grunet , DA/MCM/LMN Project Team, Ed White Photographics.

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