1245 Harwood is set within a tree-lined street consisting of buildings of different heights, massing and architectural styles built over several decades. The streetscape truly reflects the social and demographic changes of this dense and vibrant community in downtown Vancouver.
The building rests on a series of terraced gardens emulating the original estate characters of the area. The dominant feature of the eastern garden is a magnificent 110-year-old tulip tree which showcases the project’s commitment to heritage preservation. The building massing responds to the site constraints of building within a dense neighbourhood with its slender proportion and compact footprint. The rounded north and south ends of the tower give the building a distinctive fluid geometry and an elegant appearance.
The front of the tower, with its sculptural stainless steel base, lands on the paved plaza and reflecting pond ever so slightly. It carves out a welcoming entry plaza with animation of natural light reflecting off the water and metal surfaces. The layered building skins both encloses and opens the building to the elements and views. On the side of the building, being susceptible to excessive sunlight, a system of custom operable screens provides sun shading in addition to the wrap around cantilevered balconies.
1245 Harwood is the brainchild of Bing Thom, one of Canada’s most admired and accomplished architects. Born in Hong Kong and immigrating to Canada as a child, Bing received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of British Columbia and his Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley. A student of the 60’s, Bing travelled to Asia and helped pioneer one of the first academic programs in Ethnic Studies in North America during his time in Berkeley. After working in the offices of other luminous architects such as Fumihiko Maki and Arthur Erickson, Bing started his own firm – Bing Thom Architects.
Bing’s commitment to using great architecture to improve the urban context and social condition has been recognized by a range of honours including the Order of Canada and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding contributions to architecture and community. Bing was the recipient of the RAIC Gold Medal, the highest honour given to a Canadian architect.
Bing Thom Architects
One of Canada’s most internationally-prominent design firms, Bing Thom Architects (BTA) was founded in Vancouver in 1982. It remains based in Vancouver, with a second office in Hong Kong, plus staff in Alberta and Washington D.C. The team of BTA dedicatedly pursues innovative architecture that enhances the experience of the users, and nurtures sustainable construction and cities.
With the passing of Bing Thom and founder in 2016, the firm continues under the leadership of Venelin Kokalov as Design Principal and Technical Principal Shinobu Homma. “As my design mentor over the past dozen years, Bing constantly demanded originality and dedication,” says Kokalov, “So Shinobu and I are committed to extend these same values into a new era of creation.” With 60 design, technical and support staff hailing from a dozen different countries and speaking as many languages, BTA has won countless awards for design and civic services.
As of December 2017, Bing Thom Architects has announced a name change to Revery Architecture.