Kengo Kuma reveals details for his first North American, large-scale tower in Vancouver

Architect Kengo Kuma has revealed plans for his first North American, large-scale residential tower in Vancouver. Being called Alberni by Kuma, the proposed the 43-storey tower near the entrance to Vancouver’s Stanley Park is being led by Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA) and developed by Westbank and Peterson, and is dominated by two elements: a gentle structural curve, and a moss garden that surrounds the base of the tower.

“In Japanese space, boundaries are considered mutable and transient. This is always an important part of my work,” said Kuma. “In this project, the minimal glazing details and the layered landscaping blurs conventional boundaries to enhance the sense of continuity. The design celebrates the presence of nature in Vancouver.”

The connectivity and transparency of design is achieved through use of materials and rich subtle layering that begins at the base. The architectural components of the tower begin with small units; the panels on the facade, the timber of the woodwork, the planks in the corridors – all are aggregated into a larger whole, which form the tower. The use of anodized aluminum and glass on the exterior allow a reflection of the neighbouring buildings and sky, giving the desired external transparency. The use of various wood on the exterior and interior add a signature similarity to Kuma’s other iconic designs.

Located amongst downtown’s most vibrant streets, Kuma’s design will see a building that complements the evolution of the community. With a curved silhouette, the tower’s two carved semi-inclusions will create the appearance of spatial balance.  The tower’s 181 residential units will be primarily located in the semi-inclusions and boast  substantially sized patio spaces designed as open gardens to create personal urban spaces. The mixed-use development also includes a retail space and restaurant.

“I have always wanted to have a project in Canada because of its closeness to nature,” said Kuma. “Typologically, this is a large-scale project in North America, a dream for any foreign architect. We have done towers, but not to this scale and level of detail.”

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