Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Foster+Partners when they set out to create the mixed-use Jameson House tower was constructing cheek to jowl with heritage buildings. Located in Vancouver’s financial district, Jameson House includes the firm’s first residential development in North America.
The site’s eclectic neighbours include the late-century modernist convention centre, the brutalist 900 West Hastings building, century-old structures such as the Vancouver Club and a slew of glass towers. With so much going on, the firm’s challenge was to create a bold new building while respecting the variety of architectural styles already in play.
The solution includes an 11-storey glass box housing offices and shops, flush with the surrounding structures and the same height as the Royal Financial Building one door over. The facade is kept minimal enough that it doesn’t compete with its neighbours at street level, but from a distance, the tower makes a striking statement.
Above the commercial space, 24 storeys of residences appear to hover in mid-air as a result of the gap created by a slightly narrower storey that severs them from the floors below. On the northeast facade, these tubular residential floors are cantilevered into the airspace over the Ceperley Rounsfell Building. Their semi-circular balconies and bay windows align into four columns, each one the width of the entire apartment.
Inside, these large bays house adaptable living spaces with exquisite views that face Coal Harbour and Stanley Park, exploiting what Norman Foster calls a “fantastic natural setting.” On the opposite side of the building, residences enjoy views of trendy Gastown and the Vancouver Harbour Centre’s iconic UFO-like lookout.
The tower is fitted with many luxurious amenities, including a completely automated valet system that allows you to drop your car at the garage entrance where it is ferried away by a multi-sensor robotic system. Although it’s a perk for residents, it also offers increased security, cuts down on lighting costs and can accommodate up to five times the usual number of vehicles in the same space. While systems like this have been common overseas for decades, this is the first of its kind in Canada.