Private Residences at Hotel Georgia a new addition to Vancouver’s skyline

IBI/HB Architects was the architect of record/prime consultant for the design of the residential and commercial tower adjacent to the historic Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver. The project was undertaken in collaboration with Endall Elliot Architects, who were responsible for the design and renovation of the existing hotel.

The Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia is a 158-metre-high, 50-storey mixed-use tower situated above eight levels of underground parking, making it the second-tallest tower in the Vancouver. Comprised of hotel and commercial office space in the first 11 storeys, 156 residential units make up the remaining floors. The first 35 storeys dramatically cant out on its south and east façades, providing passive solar shading and stunning views of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Robson Square; the top dozen floors lean back so that the southeast balconies have a view of Seymour and Grouse mountains to the north. The massing of expression of the new tower’s 11-storey podium is an architectural homage to the Hotel Georgia itself, using a similar material palette and scale of solids and voids close to the interface of the two structures.

The hotel base is comprised of two levels and a mezzanine, all of stately vertical scale and proportion. In acknowledgement, the tower entrance lobby rises two levels and the top of its transparent façade aligns with the hotel’s sidewalk canopy. The porte-cochère, which serves both buildings, visually separates the two at the ground plane and soars to about 30 feet. The alignment of the tower to the massing of the hotel creates a distinct street wall on Howe Street.

The Hotel Georgia is one of the greener towers to be built in downtown Vancouver, incorporating several sustainable features: photovoltaic cells that provide energy to operate the motorized blinds in the building; geothermal wells that heat and cool the tower; low-flow water fixtures; efficient electrical features; and a rooftop water tank and lower-level swimming pool that double up to provide a back-up reservoir for the building’s fire suppression. This complex project honours its prominent downtown site, combining a sensitive renovation and restoration of the historic Hotel Georgia with the introduction of a sustainable tall building on the city’s ever-expanding skyline.

Construction this integrated urban mixed-use development began in 2008 and is slated for completion by the end of 2012.