The 150m high Beach and Howe mixed-use tower is a project by BIG, Westbank, Dialog, Cobalt, PFS, Buro Happold, Glotman Simpson, and local architect James Cheng. The 49-story building with a surface of 60.600m² supplies 600 residential units (Studios, 1 Bedrooms, 2 Bedrooms, 3 Bedrooms, 4 Bedrooms).
Due to the adjacent motorway flyover of the Granville Bridge which leads to the city centre of Vancouver, the first nine floors are designed for offices, shops and restaurants. The whole podium complex with its three triangular buildings is a contribution to the public space. The courtyards of these buildings are designed to enhance views from the Granville Bridge and the residential units above.
The form of the tower which is characterised by the set back from the motorway flyover. This 30m setback prevent any windows or balconies of the living spaces from overlooking the highway. The twisted form ensures that no residents will have windows or balconies faced to the traffic. Especially the quality of air and light increases with this setback at the bottom of the tower.
With the ascension of the tower, the noise and view of the Granville Bridge decreases. In order to not losing space, the triangular form turns into a rectangular form, which is in every way more efficient.
In the first levels where the triangular form determines the form of the tower the floor plans are more inefficient due to the fact that the relation of living space and construction is very high. Besides the setback is not only in a vertical way. The triangular form demands for a setback in the floor plans as well. Therefore, in the lower level the number of one-bedroom apartments is higher than at the top where two- and three-bedrooms determine the floor plan.
The higher the tower gets the more normal the floors plans can be designed. The high relation of living space and construction gets less but the fact that the tower has to deal with a huge twist and setback, the walls and pillars are vast. An offset of shear walls allows the typical twisted form. At the north, east and south facade pillars are sufficient, but to the south where the tower has its twisted form the shear walls with an offset are necessary to handle the load of the upper levels.
The Beach and Howe tower is a contemporary contribution to the skyline of Vancouver which mostly accommodates high quality living. The form and facade is determined by light and air which is also visible in the layout of the different floor plans. The living spaces are faced towards the glass front and almost all flats have balconies to step out of the tower and breath the fresh air.