New Vancouver Convention Center Designed with an Eye Toward Sustainability

The 2010 Winter Olympics begin in two days in Vancouver, B.C., and for the past few years the city has been busy preparing for the games and festivities. These preparations include a number of new construction and renovation projects and sustainability and energy efficiency were key to several. The Vancouver Convention Centre West (VCC), designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects in collaboration with Vancouver-based MCM and DA, was recently awarded LEED® Canada Platinum certification, the first convention center project in the world to earn what is the program’s highest rating.

With this year’s Olympic Games being touted as the greenest Olympics to date, the VCC serves as an icon of that vision, with a wealth of innovative green features. The new 1.2 million square foot venue is the west companion to the existing facility, tripling the total square footage of convention centre space.

The entire perimeter enclosure is an ultra-clear glass system, created to provide linkages between interior and exterior public spaces, and visually reinforce the integration of urban and waterfront context into the user’s experience of the building. The glazing element also provides extensive daylighting through the structural glass system that surrounds the building.

“The design goes far beyond the big box functionality and experience of a traditional convention centre,” says Mark Reddington, FAIA, LMN partner. “Instead, it offers a new vision of sustainability and a rich public experience by weaving together the natural ecology, local culture, urban context, and building program in a unified whole that functions literally as a living part of both the city and the harbor.”

The Vancouver Convention Centre sits on the northern waterfront edge of downtown Vancouver, offering views of mountains, ocean and parks. It occupies what was the last undeveloped section of the city’s waterfront and completes the public realm on the waterfront.