BIG Releases First Photographs of The Vancouver House and Telus Sky in Canada

BIG Releases First Photographs of The Vancouver House and Telus Sky in Canada

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group has released a photo series of the Vancouver House and the Telus Sky towers, captured for the first time since their opening in 2020 during the pandemic. In a sort of "yin and yang," both skyscrapers are shaped by a curvilinear silhouette that involves the surrounding like a giant curtain revealing the building to the skyline.

The 220-meter-tall Telus Sky tower, and the 149 meters high Vancouver House, accommodate mixed-use offices and residential spaces, with connections to cycling and pedestrian pathways in their platforms. Moreover, both hold the highest level of Energy and Environmental Design. Vancouver House is the city's first LEED Platinum building, and TELUS in Calgary now occupies the largest LEED Platinum footprint in North America, with 70,725 square meters.

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Calgary and Vancouver have embarked upon an urban experiment in creating a super-dense downtown. While the province of Alberta focused on a cluster surrounded by low-density housing, the major city in western Canada developed a concentrated residential downtown. In either configuration, both towers are models to approach urban design from a mixture of housing and working spaces addressing the community's desire for a genuinely sustainable and vibrant urban development.


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Vancouver House is part of a new phase in the city's short but successful urban policy history. The tower and the base are a new interpretation of the local typology deemed "Vancouverism" - a new urbanist platform coupled with a slender tower that seeks to preserve view cones through the city while activating the pedestrian street.

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Vancouver House. Image © LAURIAN GHINITOIU
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Vancouver House. Image © LAURIAN GHINITOIU

The tower is located at the main entrance to Vancouver, next to the Granville bridge and a neighboring park, meaning several urban constraints- setbacks on the lot. What was left was a small triangular site nearly too small to build upon. The 30-meter separation from the bridge was defined as the bare-minimum distance until the building reached 30 meters up in the air, after which it could grow back out - allowing BIG to double the floor plate. As a result, Vancouver House emerges subtly from the ground and expands as it rises, granting visual access to the breadth of Vancouver's natural surroundings. What seems like a surreal gesture is a highly responsive architecture – shaped by its environment.

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Telus Sky. Image © LAURIAN GHINITOIU

The Telus Sky tower creates a lively mixture of housing and working spaces in the heart of Calgary's city center. As the car is an essential figure in Calgary Downtown, the programmatic uniformity of the area leaves it empty at night as people return home. Telus Sky generates a programmatically diversified building with activity throughout the day by stacking the homes on an office tower.

Following the orthogonality of the ground floor, the diagonal shift creates a pixelation of the façade, forming terraces and balconies for the residences. Above the main entrance, the pixels of the façade extend beyond the site limits, creating a series of canopies, decks, and lounges interwoven across the corner. At night, a 15,000 sq meters art installation, 'Northern Lights' by Douglas Coupland, lights up the tower's north and south façades, making it the largest public art piece in Calgary.

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Telus Sky. Image © LAURIAN GHINITOIU
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Telus Sky. Image © LAURIAN GHINITOIU

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group has topped off High-Rise Building in East Side Berlin and is working on a Commercial District in London along with HWKN. In 2022, the international firm opened CapitaSpring Tower in Singapore in collaboration with CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati. After four years of construction, the 280-meter-tall high-rise oasis is one of the city's tallest structures and is accredited with Green Mark Platinum & Universal Design Gold Plus certifications.

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Cite: Paula Cano. "BIG Releases First Photographs of The Vancouver House and Telus Sky in Canada" 08 Nov 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/991864/big-releases-first-photographs-of-the-vancouver-house-and-telus-sky-in-canada> ISSN 0719-8884

Vancouver House. Image © LAURIAN GHINITOIU

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