The design of 1550 Alberni Street is shaped by its environment. The 43-storey tower is carved by two emphatic scoops that form deep balconies furnished in wood. In both instances, the carvings create semi-enclosures that strengthen their relations to the street and to the views – to its urban and geographic context while optimizing neighbouring views past the project.
Because of the way the otherwise orthogonal tower is carved, its silhouette constantly changes, creating illusionary profiles of arching cantilevers. The reality is far more structured as the carved deductions are diagonally symmetrical, the lower portion helping to counterbalance the hanging volume above. The tower meets the ground with two intersecting domes that embrace Alberni and Cardero Streets. Under the arching structures, an extensive moss garden defines the entrance and flows 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 can be shared by all.
Images © Westbank Corp.