Vancouver’s Spiral High-Rise Creatively Skirts Zoning Rules

A helix-shaped high-rise designed by Bjarke Ingels Group in down­town Van­cou­ver, used its inno­v­a­tive design to skirt zon­ing reg­u­la­tions and fit the 500- build­ing into a foot­print. “The high-rise could­n’t be too close to the , it had to be at least 30 meters (near­ly 100 feet) away from the Granville Bridge and it could­n’t cast shad­ows on a near­by park,” explains Amelia Pol­lard in Bloomberg City­Lab.

Because the 30 meter bridge set­back only applies to parts of the build­ing below 30 meters in height, BIG cre­at­ed a design that widens as it ris­es and ensures that the build­ing does­n’t block sun­light from the adja­cent park. “Because of its twist­ing design, struc­tur­al engi­neer­ing played a large role in the con­struc­tion. BIG con­sult­ed with engi­neer­ing firms Glot­man Simp­son and Buro Hap­pold to ensure the tow­er — which steps out around 80 feet — was sta­ble enough to meet strin­gent build­ing codes in this seis­mi­cal­ly active city.” The 80-foot tow­er fea­tures a stain­less steel facade that reflects .

Accord­ing to Pol­lard, “The also includes two adja­cent, tri­an­gu­lar lots that are sand­wiched by the bridge and its off-ramps. The two build­ings house a por­tion of Cana­da and -lev­el retail,” uti­liz­ing the under­de­vel­oped space around the bridge. 

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