The development of 1550 Alberni showcases the innovation and progressiveness of the Vancouver building industry. This 43-story condominium tower boasts an iconic curved façade that emulates two scoops shaped by vertically layered and staggered timber balconies. This stunning design creates semi-enclosures that provide the building’s occupants with a greater connection to the urban environment around them. The rest of the enclosure is an intricately designed integration of metal panels and curtain wall, delivering both a comfortable living space and optimal views.

Our team was brought on to the project during the conceptual stage as the building enclosure consultant and façade designer, with an emphasis on supporting the delivery of the building’s unique façade. By also taking on the role of façade structural engineer, we were able to apply our expertise in this area and provide a comprehensive façade service for the client.

To achieve the building’s unique façade, the project required a new and innovative glazing and enclosure system. A complex façade such as this comes with multiple design and logistical challenges. To address these challenges and ensure that the project will be completed on schedule and within budget, the façade needed to be procured from a manufacturer in South Korea. As a result, our team has been extensively involved in the procurement process. So far, our team has performed quality assurance reviews of the performance mock-up and testing, and of the manufacturing plant during production, to ensure that the façade products will meet the project team’s expectations.

Our team’s ability to create an ongoing relationship with the manufacturer has been a significant aspect of the project’s production success to date. We were present during the development, testing, and manufacturing stages to provide quality assurance and to support the manufacturer’s development of quality control processes. We also managed the design and construction of a performance mock-up of the enclosure system to illustrate the standard that is required to be met during construction.

The project has broken ground and the construction of the building’s inventive façade is well under way. Our team is providing field review and testing services throughout the construction phase and continuing to support the manufacturer as new challenges arise.

Date:

October 7, 2019

Client:

Westbank

Architect:

Kengo Kuma, Merrick Architecture

General Contractor:

Graham Construction

Our Role:

Building Enclosure Consultant, Façade Designer, Structural Glazing Engineer

Key Services

Concept Review
Construction Document Review
Façade Development and Engineering
Procurement Consulting
Field Review
Testing

Before material and systems selections are finalized, our clients benefit from a review of the building enclosure design strategies at a conceptual level. This review provides an opportunity to reflect upon the performance expectations and fundamental building science strategies behind the selection of appropriate solutions. Experience shows that changes made at the conceptual stage of building enclosure design have far greater cost-to-benefit impact than those made during late design or construction. A typical concept review considers the following:

  • Environmental loads
  • Energy performance targets and compliance options
  • Life cycle expectations
  • Constructability, sequencing, and complexity of detailing
  • Structural support
  • Risk analysis

Brian Hubbs | P.Eng.

Principal, Senior Building Science Specialist
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Lorne Ricketts | M.A.Sc., P.Eng.

Principal, Building Science Specialist
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Rob Orlowski | AScT

Associate, Façade Specialist
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David Vadocz | P.Eng.

Principal, Senior Façade Specialist
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