bamboo columns clad ‘vancouver forest’ residential development in canada

urban agency takes inspiration from nature to design ‘vancouver forest’, a residential project with community space planned for vancouver, canada. informed by the dense forests of british columbia, the prospective development features a CLT structure and bamboo-clad façades covered in a ‘living canopy’ of plants and trees. 

bamboo columns clad 'vancouver forest' residential development in canada designboom

images courtesy of urban agency

the first three storys of the new development comprise 4,000 sqm (43,055.64 sqft) of community space and are expressed as two separate volumes, leaving a wide connective passage for pedestrians. 200 private apartments are accommodated from the fourth floor onwards, where the two separate units fuse into one cohesive structure. the large building is articulated as a stepped volume with curved edges to soften its impact. this stepped design strategy also generates generous south-facing terraces that bring in natural light and create valuable outdoor living spaces.

bamboo columns clad 'vancouver forest' residential development in canada designboom

for the structure, urban agency wanted materials with a low embodied energy. the team therefore specified a bamboo-clad CLT frame. bamboo has been selected for its high tensile strength, efficient transportation, and the fact that it grows 15 times faster than traditional lumber.

bamboo columns clad 'vancouver forest' residential development in canada designboom

the elevations will be clad in a modular, prefabricated system of glass and timber panels. terraces, intermittent balconies and bamboo posts also populate the elevational treatment, giving the building a dynamic character while echoing the forests of british columbia. the clusters of columns intend to reference their journey from forest to building: they float upstream, tied in floating bundles, efficiently transported by the river’s natural current.

bamboo columns clad 'vancouver forest' residential development in canada designboom

finally, the elevations are complete with foliage, trees and plants. this ‘living canopy’ is intended to envelop the building, creating an everchanging façade and echoing the vitality, color and dappled light of a forest grove while establishing a new form of city living designed to passivhaus standards.

bamboo columns clad 'vancouver forest' residential development in canada designboom

bamboo columns clad 'vancouver forest' residential development in canada designboom

project info:

name: vancouver forest

location: vancouver, canada

architecture firm: urban agency

project: high-rise passivhaus apartments/community space

size: 200 homes, 4,000 sqm of community space

year: 2022

status: ongoing

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