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Balancing Japanese spatial tradition and urban design, Kengo Kuma’s Alberni Tower has a curvilinear form and a semi-enclosed amphitheatre at its base

Laveta Brigham

Vancouver, Canada Located in downtown Vancouver, Kengo Kuma’s latest residential tower is completed in collaboration with Merrick Architecture and PFS Studio consists of 43 floors and is carved by two emphatic scoops that form deep balconies with wood soffits and decks. In both instances, the carvings create semi-enclosures that establish […]

Vancouver, Canada

Located in downtown Vancouver, Kengo Kuma’s latest residential tower is completed in collaboration with Merrick Architecture and PFS Studio consists of 43 floors and is carved by two emphatic scoops that form deep balconies with wood soffits and decks.

Alberni Tower by Kengo Kuma

In both instances, the carvings create semi-enclosures that establish a connection to the street, to Lost Lagoon, and to the views–the building’s urban and geographic context–while facilitating neighborhood private and public views past the project.

Because of the way the otherwise orthogonal tower is carved, its silhouette constantly changes, creating illusory profiles of arching cantilevers.

The reality is far more structured, as the carved deductions are diagonally symmetrical, the lower protrusions helping to counterbalance the hanging volumes above.

Alberni Tower by Kengo Kuma

The tower meets the ground with two intersecting domed vaults that embrace Alberni and Cardero Street.

Under the arching structures, an extensive moss garden defines the entrance and flows up to the swimming pool above.

In keeping with Japanese spatial traditions, the emphasis is on the atmosphere rather than the object: without drawing attention to a particular point laden with meaning, the void elicits a serene visceral experience that could be shared by all.

Project: 550 Alberni Street Tower
Architects: Kengo Kuma  & Associates
Lead Architect: Kengo Kuma
Executive Architects: Merrick Architecture
Landscape Architects: PFS Studio
Design Team: Balazs Bognar, Michael Sypkens, Esteban Ochogavia, Richard David Nelson, Nicolas Cazali, Jagoda Krawcyk, Yasemin Sahiner, Kevin Clement, Nicolas Guichard, Moeko Yamagata, Shinya Toyama, Tomohiro Matsunaga, Martina Bandolin, John Xianfeng Jiang, Fumiya Kaneko, Takumi Saikawa, Mira Yung, and Yu Tsuji

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