Each of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’s projects — realized or not — is a spectacle in its own right. Vancouver House, his firm’s recently completed residential tower, is exemplary. With a twisting form that presides over the heart of the Canadian metropolis, it’s a landmark like no other.
The high-rise’s distinctive design, however, emerged from a deft negotiation of contextual restraints, rather than pure geometric experimentation. Contending with a narrow triangular site (once thought unusable) framed by Howe Street, Beach Avenue and the elevated Highway 99, the architects, in collaboration with local practice DIALOG and engineers Buro Happold, created a 30-metre-deep setback to introduce breathing room between the heavy traffic and individual suites. Once the 59-storey residence has cleared the physical constraints of the Granville Street Bridge off-ramp, it begins to expand outward and twist gracefully, effectively reclaiming the space above the setback.