Collection 45

Collection 45 change 1

As the name might suggest, there are 45 condo units in this 6-storey project in Mount Pleasant. Designed by GBL Architects, it includes a floor of commercial use that the architects have moved into themselves. It’s a simple colour palate of black and white; an alternative to the more colourful buildings that the same architects have been designing in the past few years.

It replaces a 2-storey office building from the early 1970s – one of the few spots where the zoning permits higher density residential development at the expense of a modest amount of commercial space.

Before image 2011; after image 2014

Artemisia – Hornby Street

Artemisia before & after

A less than inspiring two storey office (and basement) building, dating back to 1954 has been replaced by a building that is, to say the least, different. We’re really not sure what it does look like – a new wing of the art gallery perhaps? – but it really doesn’t look like a typical 21-unit strata housing project. Boffo Developments built it “in consultation with James Schouw & Associates” – the initial proponent of the building five years ago, before a financial downturn saw a sale of the site, and then a relaunch with the new owners taking the lead. GBL Architects were the architects of record.

Before image, 2010; after image 2014

Wall Centre False Creek

Wall Centre FC

Wall Centre False Creek is a half block behind the Village on False Creek (the former Olympic Village). It now has 558 apartments, pretty much completed with the first new owners moving in. GBL Architects designed four towers, each with slightly different details, with coloured panels to distinguish each block. In the centre of the block there’s a mid block mini-park and a theatre with a gorgeous crinkled glazed wall. The future operators are currently unclear, but it’s good to see South East False Creek have culture as well as retail and bars.

Before image 2011; after image 2013

McLaren House

1249 Howe 1

Just completed at 1249 Howe Street, McLaren House is another of the 14 projects funded by BC Housing on land owned by the City of Vancouver to create non-market housing for the homeless and hard-to-house. This one is designed by gBL Architects, and will be operated by the McLaren Housing Society with 110 suites, including three townhouses.

It replaced the Odyssey nightclub, which despite having been closed since 2010 is still featured on ‘Time Out, Vancouver’ with the description “The Odyssey attracts all ages but is best known for its lithe youths bussed in from campus and their attendant chicken hawks.”

before images 2010; after images 2013

1249 Howe 2



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

The Lux

The Lux

The Lux is a non-market housing project on West Pender Street

The Lux was the first of a series of new social housing projects being built in Vancouver, several of them in the Downtown Eastside. Completed in 2009, the building, by Gomberoff Bell Lyon (now called GBL) features a bedbug sauna to eradicate the persistent annoyance.

Once the site of the Lux cinema (hence the name) the site was a parking lot for many years.

before image, 2006; after image, 2009.