402 Dunsmuir (401 West Georgia Street)


The address of this office project was a bit misleading – it actually faces onto Dunsmuir Street. There’s an existing office building that stretches the entire length of a block of Homer Street, with an early 1980s office tower designed by Aitken Smith Carter. That was set in the middle of the block to avoid blocking views of the adjacent Holy Rosary cathedral and to create a plaza on Georgia Street. Now the office building designed by B+H Architects at the Dunsmuir end of the block has been nearly completed. Submitted in spring 2017, the 151,000 building has been built quickly, as the tenant, Amazon, are keen to occupy the space.

Although views of the cathedral have been lost, the building is set back and modulated to allow a continued view of the cathedral spire. The building adds commercial space with plans showing a restaurant space on the main floor, with a partially enclosed plaza with outdoor seating between the existing building and the new one. The style seems distinctly European – it wouldn’t be out of place in London or Berlin. The Metro Core Plan added allowable density to the site, so it was built as a development permit without a rezoning, using the existing parking space beneath the site. As built the glazing appears darker than initial illustrations suggested, but the appearance may change a bit once the office space is occupied, and the lights are on inside.

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