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Bruno Freschi’s Van East Cinema on Commercial Drive in Vancouver transformed


June 7, 2014
by Canadian Architect

Vancouver-based developer Image Development Inc. has completed one of the city’s most recycled buildings on Commercial Drive. Marquee on the Drive, a low-rise development, transforms the old Van East Cinema, originally designed by Bruno Freschi, the architect behind Expo ’86 and Science World, into a modern 58-unit mixed residential condominium that builds on the fabric of the storied neighbourhood.

“Marquee truly is a new standard for redevelopment in Vancouver,” said James Askew, president of rareEarth Project Marketing. “It’s all too common for character buildings to be bulldozed down in place of brand new high-rise developments that can strip away the soul of a neighbourhood. At Marquee we saw the potential the Van East Cinema held, with its original brick and steel and prime location. No other development in the city has taken a building this young and refurbished it back into its community as something new that still holds meaning.”

Known for sustainable building practices, Ankenman Marchand Architects reused more than 75% of the building’s previous structure, including its brick façade, steel and concrete to create a dichotomy between the old and new. Located at 2250 Commercial Drive, with a presentation centre at 2240 Commercial Drive, Marquee features studio, one- and two-bedroom layouts along with 19 loft-style penthouse suites. Complementing the individualism of the building, each floor plan is unique with nine-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, large decks with unprecedented views of the North Shore Mountains and Commercial Drive neighbourhood. Keeping in line with its sustainable strategy, Marquee has incorporated Modo’s car-share program into the building, which is fitted for electric car-charging stations, a spacious bike room, and convenient access to public transportation. It is located less than two blocks from Vancouver’s most popular SkyTrain station at Broadway and Commercial.

“Commercial Drive is a unique microcosm of Vancouver; it’s what makes it so attractive to families and first time homebuyers,” said Timothy Ankenman, lead architect from Ankenman Marchand. “There are very few opportunities for new condo developments on Commercial Drive; we saw the redevelopment of this space as an opportunity to show the community that a new building can be incorporated without sacrificing the spirit of the ‘Drive’.”




Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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