550 Bute Street, Vancouver.

A special urban design panel which included invited international architects has approved the design of a mixed use project consisting of a 42-storey residential tower, a 13-storey boutique hotel, a significant retail component and a 6,000 square foot cultural amenity space a Vancouver not-for-profit organization. The project, the second to be approved by an international panel of architects in Vancouver, is pending the award if a full development permit issued to British Columbia developers Amacon and architects Hewitt + Kwasnicky Inc. The building will be located at 550 Bute Street, at Bute and Melville streets in downtown Vancouver, to be started in spring 2004 and completed in spring 2006. Environmentally sustainable features include the use of locally quarried stone, natural copper cladding, recycled timber and green glazing for sun control as well as rainwater retention measures. A sweeping tower roof and copper and wood retail canopies are said to evoke the West Coast landscape of mountains, forestry and sea.The City of Vancouver’s general policy for higher buildings was put in place as guidelines to be consulted when seeking approval for buildings significantly exceeding the height limits established in the city’s Downtown District Official Development Plan. Other buildings approved under the policy include the addition to the Hotel Georgia at 801 West Georgia Street, and 1120 West Georgia Street. Some of the stipulations of the policy are as follows: the highest buildings (575-600 feet) should be located on one of downtown Vancouver’s three primary streets: West Georgia, Granville and Burrard; the building should achieve other community benefits such as being a recipient site for density transfers or density bonusing relating to heritage retention or the provision of significant cultural or social facilities or low-cost housing; the buildings should not contribute to adverse microclimate effects; and the development should provide on-site open space that represents a significant addition to downtown green and plaza spaces among others.