The school site in International Village was reserved decades ago – but Provincial funding for the building was only approved a couple of years ago. Now the three-storey steel framed building, with cantilevered upper floors to get the needed floorspace on the tight site, has been completed.
Designed by Francl Architecture, the building replaced a temporary parking lot that for several years couldn’t be used for parking because the childcare built to the north was built over the site access. For some years before the Firenze towers were built here (completed in 2007) there was the International Village lake. Construction of the underground parking commenced in the 1990s, but was then stalled for several years as the housing market took a break. The hole filled with water, and even attracted wildlife. In the further past this was freight yards and warehouses – in 1912 the site where the school has been constructed was shown as ‘hay storage’.
Before image: 2012, after image 2017.
One of the more dramatic of 14 non-market projects being built on city-owned land with provincial funding, Gomberoff Bell Lyon’s design for Sorella on the corner of Abbott and Pender sits happily between the Sun Tower and the Cineplex Cinema sign on International Village.
Completed in Spring 2011, Atira Women’s Resources manage the 108 units, while the City of Vancouver are landlords to the retail space with a striking zig-zag canopy roof. The site was acquired as part of the International Village condo project next door, which has six strata towers over a retail mall and street front stores, including a T&T supermarket.
before image, 2008: after image, 2011
Surprisingly this tower is actually in Chinatown. Taylor creates part of a ‘cliff’ of higher towers; to the east and north of here everything turns into a much lower mid-rise heritage-sensitive form, to the west is the multi-tower International Village scheme. There’s a great piece of public art, ‘Abacus’, on the Keefer Street side of the building, and there are some social housing units in the 251 unit project too. Hancock Bruckner Eng & Wright designed the tower to replace a parking lot that in turn replaced warehouse buildings, demolished years before.
Before image 2002; after image 2008