Fast + Epp head office, Vancouver, British Columbia

Designed by f2a architecture, the Fast + Epp building aims to efficiently deliver the necessities for its engineers, within a compact volume.

Photo credit: Micheal Elkan

The new Fast + Epp building — designed by f2a architecture — aims to efficiently deliver the necessities for its engineers, within a compact volume.

By subtracting two patios, a third-level atrium, and a loading bay from the zoning envelope, the 1,482-square-metre project exactly meets bylaws.

The exterior of this noble box is completed with trellises and screens, appearing as a prism of varying opacity, revealing its interior life, mass timber structure, climbing plants, and exposed systems.

Photo credit: Micheal Elkan
Photo credit: Micheal Elkan

A concise core conveys people and utilities between five levels. Its open floor plate and flush glazing connects the building to the streetscape on the lower levels and to the mountainscapes above. All three suites are given natural ventilation via operable windows on the north and south facades. Once inside the main office floor on level three, the office gradually opens in a sequence to the north: the reception parallels the core, opens to a translucent conference room, then reveals a narrow two-storey view to the west. The atrium connects the two office levels. Views expand from fourth level to south, west, and north, and the space opens to north and south patios.

Photo credit: Austin Hawkins

From the patios, a further degree of opening offers a mountainous experience of the cityscape. In this way, connection between the cityscape, its hinterland, and the inhabitants of the building increase as a visitor climbs the building and interacts with engineers in the various facilities. 

Structural materials are exposed throughout the building. Below-grade walls are concrete, white intumescent-painted steel columns support glulams, which support cross-laminated timber floor plates.

Photo credit: Austin Hawkins

A horizontal distribution bulkhead transfers building systems under beams to structural bays where their exposed runs are regularly spaced. Electrochromic glass mitigates solar gains through the building’s broad west façade. Wiring for the glazing units is integrated into structural drag straps and curtainwall firestopping, along the edge of the 140mm thick floor plates. From there, it runs back to a computer within the service core which regulates shading based on the weather. 

The lightest layer of the building is perforated aluminum, which screens the parkade entrance and a light box, illuminating the central panel of the west façade. Light plays through the perforations and onto corrugated steel during the day, and across the corrugated steel and out through the perforations by night. Perforated aluminum runs parallel as a continuous guard in the egress stairs, interconnecting the various suites of the building, and representing the healthy mind, rising upward.

“As designers, our primary consideration is basic human need: we must have light, air, water, food, and shelter. Integral to this is our need for connection to other people, and to our environment,” says the firm.

Photo credit: Austin Hawkins

General Information  

Project Name: Fast + Epp head office

Architecture Firm: f2a architecture

Website: www.f2a.ca

Contact e-mail: [email protected]

Firm Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Completion Year: 2022

Gross Built Area: 1482.5 m2

Project location: Vancouver, BC

Lead Architects: florian maurer, austin hawkins

 

Media

Photo credits: Micheal Elkan, Austin Hawkins, Mathias Fast

Photographer’s website: www.elkanphoto.com

 

Additional Credits

Client: Fast + Epp Structural Engineers

Contractor: Companion Construction Ltd

Code: GHL Consultants

Structural Engineering: Fast + Epp Structural Engineers

Interior Design: HCMA Architecture + Design

Mechanical Engineering: Impact Engineering

Electrical Engineering: Opal Engineering

Envelope: Aqua-coast Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering: Geopacific Consultants

Fire: Elston Johnston P.Eng.

Landscape: ETA landscape architecture

Collaborating manufacturers: Structurlam, Western Archrib, Tectonus, View

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