Vancouver House Podium 1423-1477 Continental street


1423-1477 Continental street

Vancouver, British Columbia


V6Z 1R8

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Certifications & Awards
Project Team
  • Local Architect: DIALOG
  • Mechanical Engineer: Integral
  • Developer: Westbank
  • Landscape Architect (Design): Phillips Farevaag
  • Landscape Architect (Local): Smallenberg
  • Design Architect: BIG.DK Bjarke Ingels Group
  • General Contractor: ICON
  • Sustainability Consultant: Integral
  • Structural Engineer: Glotman Simpson
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Vance Harris of DIALOG Architects and Jacqueline Che of Westbank


This project is one of four unique buildings located on the project site. Podium 1 is a is a mix of commercial and rental residential, Tower 2 is an all market residential building, Buildings 3 and 4 are commercial buildings.

Podium 1 is a 9 storey building consisting of 128,000 sq ft of mixed-use development located next to the Granville street bridge in Vancouver, BC.

The project consists of studios, one and two apartment suites, with about 42,000 square feet of food and commercial retail spaces, office spaces and a health club. Podium 1 serves as a base and surrounds the central 59-storey high rise building (Tower 2).

The project is targeting LEED Gold certification under the LEED 2009 Core and Shell rating system

Sustainable Sites

As an initial step towards sustainability, the decision to develop on an existing site greatly affects the LEED sustainability strategy by developing in an existing urban fabric with connections to public transit and an established community with existing services.

As a requirement for this new development, remediation of site contamination was conducted as well as a construction activity pollution prevention plan is designed to reduce the existing pollution as well as that from construction activities.

The project is in a highly dense location right next to the Granville Street bridge which is a key connection between Vancouver Downtown and Mainland. With the centralized location of the project right in a healthy mix of commercial, retail, and residential buildings alternative forms of transportation strategies are required, such as, accessibility to bus and light rail transit and proximity to a multitude of bike lanes.

These multimodal transportation choices promote walkability, transportation efficiency, reduces vehicle distance traveled and improves public health by encouraging daily physical activity. Transportation options have been provided to occupants beyond Single Occupant Vehicle uses, including bicycle amenities, and electric vehicle charging stalls. All of these elements contribute to reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

20% of the total site area is vegetated with native or adaptive vegetation. Native/adaptive plants are plants that either are part of local natural ecosystems or are from further away but still suited to local climate conditions.

By increasing the amount of vegetation, the amount and rate of storm water reaching the storm water system is reduced which helps in natural infiltration of water and reduces the irrigation requirements. In addition to vegetation, a rainwater cistern is provided to reduce surface run off and impacts it has on downstream stormwater infrastructure. Vegetated spaces also contribute to reducing the heat island effect for roofs which can reduce the amount of energy used for cooling the building.

Soft landscaping was placed on the roof of this project instead of at the ground plane due to the shading of the adjacent bridge. The ground plane is shaded from direct sunlight for a significant portion of the day, thus reducing the capacity to grow and maintain healthy vegetation. Relocation of vegetation to the roof allows the project to take advantage of the rainwater-detaining properties of vegetated surfaces by moving those surfaces to a higher location where they have solar access.

Water Use Reduction

Indoor and outdoor water reduction strategies have been incorporated by use of water efficient fixtures, reduced potable water demand management. An overall reduction of 50% outdoor water use is attained with the use of native and adaptive plant species that require less water and thrive with minimal care. The reduction is also attributed to high efficiency irrigation systems.

For the building interior, all plumbing fixtures are low flow fixtures such as low flush toilets, low flow lavatories, showers, and kitchen sinks which reduces the overall indoor water use by 40% from the baseline case.

Energy and Carbon Emissions

Energy savings are achieved through an efficient envelope, low lighting power density and highly efficient HVAC system which supports a targeted energy cost reduction at 22% relative to an ASHRAE 90.1- 2007 baseline. Part of this performance will be supported through the connection of a centralized energy system supporting efficient production of heating and cooling energy.

To assure the building systems function is optimized and energy consumption is monitored for continued performance, a measurement and verification plan has been implemented to monitor the buildings actual energy consumption and compare it to the intended performance. In addition to energy metering, water end use metering has been provided to verify predicted water use reductions and enable facility managers to better manage the building’s water consumption.

An enhanced level of commissioning has been conducted to ensure mechanical and electrical systems are properly calibrated and they function as designed. A third-party commissioning consultant is directly contracted to the owners of the building to review the project design and construction as it is happening.

To minimize environmental impact of mechanical equipment, material used in the systems follow a strict reduction, and elimination of refrigerants. Limiting the use of these refrigerants helps in minimizing the direct contribution to stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.

The “Window to Wall Ratio” (WWR) in this project is kept relatively low compared to other residential apartment projects. This is important because windows lose a lot of heat relative to walls, and a high WWR requires more energy to heat the building. Window locations and apartment layouts were carefully considered so that each window used provides daylight and views, while keeping the overall number and size of windows modest.


The project diverted over 75% construction waste from landfills by implementing a construction waste management plan. This encourages recycling and reuse of materials thereby reducing the demand for virgin materials.

In the construction of Podium 1 itself, over 20% of the project materials by cost were made from recycled material. . This includes fly ash in concrete, recycled structural steel, drywall, and more.

Locally harvested and manufactured materials (from less than 800km away/2400 km by rail) have also been specified for over 20% of materials. Materials with recycled content have lesser embodied emissions and create less pollution than their virgin counterparts, while materials sourced close by reduce emissions associated with transportation.

Indoor Environmental Quality

The project tries for better indoor air quality by specifying low VOC emitting materials. Low emitting materials reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage indoor air quality and human health. Indoor Air Quality was ensured after construction with an air flush out of the entire building and quality is monitored thereafter via CO2 monitors and air delivery sensors.

To improve the comfort of the occupants in the buildings, controllability for lighting and thermal comfort controls is provided for each suite. Thermal controls are in the form of operable windows and thermostats with ventilation controls. The building is designed to meet thermal comfort levels for all spaces.