Vancouver Olympic Housing

During a recent layover in Vancouver, BC, I had an opportunity to quickly peruse the housing that was built for the recent Olympics. The plan was/is to now sell the housing at market rates, as condominiums. Architecturally, most are well designed, with a nice use of materials and some clever juxtapositions. The detailing is also well handled. Time did not permit me to tour any of the interiors, or to learn more about their sustainable building solutions; however, most buildings has either fixed shading devices or exterior sunshades to help mitigate solar gain. The sunshades were especially nice to see, as they are a low cost, effective way of dealing with solar gain and is a quite common strategy in Europe. In the photos showing the three tall buildings, you can see they are well used, to, in this case, block the late afternoon sun. As an ensemble of buildings, the work fairly well, with concrete, small sand set pavers for the drive areas. Their scale is quite similar to that of the future Sound Transit TOD sites, with most buildings being seven stories or under. There is even a well designed plaza, fronted on three sides by buildings. Urbanistically, the milieu is only half cooked – not even close to enough units have been sold to support the complex as a whole. There is little to no pedestrian traffic, and the plaza is as vacant as the storefronts that surround it. And a complex it feels like, with its being surrounded by undeveloped, gravel lots. There is even a nice promenade along the waterfront, in typical Vancouver style, but alas even that does not help for do the stunning views from the housing across False Creek to Yale Town. Despite this short coming, it is still worth checking out on your next visit, and awaits occupancy to give it the urban patina needed to make it a welcoming place.