Urban Design Panel Oct 13

Meetings will now be held in-person and are open to the public to attend. All provincial health guidelines and social distancing protocols must be adhered to.

Meeting: Wednesday, October 13, 4pm
Location: Joe Wai Meeting Room, Main Floor – City Hall, 453 W 12 Ave
601 Beach Crescent
Time: 5:20pm
Contact: Miguel Castillo Ureña, 604-871-6025

The Urban Design Panel provides expert advice to staff and Council and is not a forum for direct public input. The procedure will remain the same for in-person meetings as had been in place for virtual meetings. The public may observe meetings in progress but may not address the panel. Members of the public who wish to comment on the application may do so at any time by contacting the planner for the relevant application as indicated above.

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MINUTES (pdf):

Address: 601 Beach Crescent
Permit No. DP-2021-00162

Description: To develop a 53-storey mixed-use residential building with 303 market
residential units, 152 social housing units, and 11 commercial units at
grade; all over one level of bicycle parking and three levels of
underground parking consisting of 453 vehicle spaces and 911 bicycle
spaces. The proposed building height is 163 m (535 ft.), the floor area
is 43,660 sq. m (469,956 sq.ft.), and the floor space ratio (FSR) is 7.56

Zoning: CD-1
Application Status: Complete Development Application
Review: Third
Architect: GBL Architects
Staff: Miguel Castillo Ureña

EVALUATION: Resubmission Recommended (6/0)

• Introduction:

Development Planner, Miguel Castillo Ureña, began by noting this is a development permit
application following rezoning for a 53-storey or 535ft mixed-use building on 601 Beach

Council approved this rezoning application in September 2020, subject to a number of rezoning
conditions, under the general policy for higher buildings which anticipated the following urban
design objectives for the Panel’s consideration:

• Mark the entry into downtown from the Burrard and Granville Bridges.
• Establish a significant and recognizable new benchmark for architectural creativity and
excellence, while making a significant contribution to the beauty and visual power of the
city’s skyline;
• Provide on-site open space that represents a significant contribution to the downtown
network of green and plaza space;
• The building should not contribute to adverse microclimate effects;
• Demonstrate leadership and advances in sustainable design and energy consumption.
• The building should include activities and uses of community significance such as public
observation decks or other public amenity;
• Careful consideration should be given to minimize adverse shadowing and view impacts
on public realm including key streets, parks and plazas, as well as neighbouring

The Panel saw this DP application back in May 26, 2021. At that time, the Panel recommended
resubmission with four broad recommendations, as follows:

• Design development to the tower podium expression interface;
• Design development to the relationship between the podium and Seymour mews
addressing the ramp and unique character of the Seymour mews;
• Design development to the urban realm to promote a more vibrant public space. Improve
legibility, accessibility and sustainability features. Ensure further resolution of grading at
the west corner;
• Design development to the podium to be more responsive to the context and residential

The triangle site is bounded by Beach Crescent to the south, the pedestrian Seymour Mews to
the east, Rolston Street and Seymour ramp to the west and Pacific Ave to the north. Significant
developments around are mostly under several CD-1, such as the 497 feet tall Vancouver
House and its associated two 6-storey buildings to the west or the adjacent 31 and 24 storey
towers with 2-storey townhouses across the Seymour Mews to the east. A 24-storey building is
located to the south adjacent to a vacant site.

The site is quite steep and has a difference of grade of about 7.4 m along Rolston and the
Mews. It is crossed by the View Cone from Queen Elizabeth Park on the north side, however it
is not affecting neither the podium height nor tower.

Other significant site-specific policies worth mentioning are:

• Bridgehead Guidelines (1997);
• Under the Granville Bridge Neighbourhood Commercial Centre Policies and Guidelines
• Beach Neighbourhood CD-1 Guidelines (1999, amended up to 2002);

As a result of the Panel’s recommendations, some of the changes include how the tower meets
the podium to the east and west as well as modifications in the podium opening patterns and
treatments. No changes in the tower are proposed.

Similarly, on the Seymour Ramp side the tower is brought down to the first storey of the podium,
which seems to have become more opaque.

The interface with the Seymour mews have been modified as shown, with two volumes of 2
storey embedded into the podium. These are closer views of the pedestrian mews and two
schematic sections showing this interface. Further, a comparison between previous and
proposed elevation facing the mews. The composition and treatment of the podium have
changed, showing the proposed palette of materials on the right hand side.

As for the public realm, the biggest updates appear to be at the west corner and south corner
with a shorter driveway and a small space between both driveways. As shown, updates in the
west corner are formalized with the relocation of the corner ramp further up north.

Advice from the Panel is sought on the following:

Does the Panel consider that the project has successfully satisfied all expectations for a higher
building, including the UDP’s previous recommendations?

The planning team then took questions from the panel.

Applicant’s Introductory Comments:

The revised project responds to the directives and concerns from the May 26, 2021 UDP. These
concerns include the Seymour Mews, the main entrance, the public realm and tower and

Regarding the Mews there is now the addition to the ground oriented units. The intentional
landscape compliments the project to create a multi-layered presence. The driveway has been
naturally shield from the site while still adding a natural entry to the site from the driveway.
The main entrance has been relocated to the corner of the building at Beach Crescent, this
helped resolve the corner. The mews now has a much better presence it is no so linear. There
is a parkette at the base of the mews which is wheel chair accessible and helps get people to
the street.

Tower and podium has been revised in how it interfaces the project. The building now reads as
one gesture throughout. The extension of lines is from top to the ground. The podium relates
directly to the massing. The materiality unites the façade better; the material breaks down the
scale for a better façade response.

The rounded corners of the building allows for better view around the other buildings

The material pallet is a few tones but with more textures and distinguishing difference zones.

There is highly insulated and triple glazed. There are high-density cement panels

There is wood composite that highlight the undersides. Material also includes aluminum panel
and fritted glass.

The Public Realm is divided into two parts the corner at Beach/Rolston and the ramp. There are
steps up to the Amphitheatre. There are great opportunities to plant. The rest of the mews is at
4 percent grade which compliments the corners. The idea is social engagement; all corners are
anchored by spaces for individuals.

The retails will have opportunity for their own identity. The retail frontage has been revised to
integrate more with the podium design and the transition from residential to retail its improved.

Landscape includes hierarchy in trees and planting, lots of textures and furniture. The
streetscape is very walkable with lots of rich greenery. There is a kids play area, vegetable
gardening and lots of space providing community to come together.

The street front treatment is integrated with the façade. There is seating integrated with green
walls connected to the amenity plaza.

The applicant team then took questions from the panel.

Panel’s Consensus on Key Aspects Needing Improvement:

Having reviewed the project it was moved by MS. COUGHLIN and seconded by MS.
VORBRODT and was the decision of the Urban Design Panel:
THAT the Panel Recommend Resubmission of the project with the following
recommendations to be reviewed by City Staff:

• Resolution of the tower and podium intersection/relationship to provide clear conceptual
continuity and approach to all sides of the building;
• Design development to the public ream to demonstrate best practices and accessibility
and public safety;
• Architectural and landscape approach to the Seymour Mews to reflect consistently with
the overall project concept and also reflect uniqueness to neighbours;
• Clear understanding of the materials proposed; and
• Design development to demonstrate leadership in sustainability.

Related Commentary:

The Panel noted there was some development trending in the right direction, however,
significant work with the tower and podium is needed at the Seymour mews and where the
tower hits the podium and around Rolston Avenue.

The tower and podium interface/relationship has not been addressed; a panelist noted this
was raised back in rezoning. Currently, the tower cuts abruptly into both sides of the podium
and there is no flow, integration nor one identity as described, especially on the Seymour
Mews side on top of the townhouses. The way how the tower lands on the box frames of the
town homes is problematic. The Seymour Mews approach and formalization suffer from
mirroring the existing condition. It could be a matter of articulating the façade better. The
townhomes are reading more as residential although the entry to each townhouse needs
further design development especially regarding privacy and accessibility. The northern end
units at the mews could have accessible units. Consider privacy to the terraces.

There was an overall sentiment of uncertainty in the proposal due to the lack of information,
definition and details. Ambiguity cannot be showed at this level in the DP application
package, such as for materials or landscape.

Building Expression
In terms of the building expression, the articulation and fenestration on the podium changes
a lot. There is a lot fragmentation. The Beach Avenue side feels fragmented, consider
continuing the horizontally, no need to break up. More consistency and unifying language is

A panelist noted the solid curtain wall masses at levels 7 & 8 feel more like an office
expression and this needs further work. The two blocks of townhouses at the mews are not
successfully integrated.

Materials are problematic, including their curvature. There needs to be a commitment of
robust and high-quality materials, especially for this location. A panelist noted to consider
brick as an appropriate material. Faceted panels are not an option and consider materiality
that would allow for curvature.

Public Realm
The Panel noted there were some improvements with the public realm around the building.
Such as the amendments to the corner of Beach Crescent and the Seymour Mews. The
addition of the amphitheater approach is a better solution in dealing with this topography.
However, the corners feel undefined; consider a stronger delivery to the corner to help
unifying Beach Crescent and Rolston Street.

There were areas of deep concern regarding inequity and accessibility of the public realm,
particularly to the mews and ramp areas. The viability and appropriateness of the ramp is
not resolved. A panelist noted accessibility to the sites for those with mobility issues was not
indicated in drawings and indicated to make path fully accessible while enabling people to
walk down smoothly. A panelist suggested to involve people with disabilities.
The treatment of the retail and entry of lobby have improved, in terms of materiality and
differentiation, however the base needs better transition, vibrant uses and animation and
more rain protection, particularly the facades against the bridge.

A panelist noted the landscape appears stronger, however, it is still not resolved. The
parkette at the base of the mews needs to be reconsidered currently as a dead-end. This
dead-end parkette in combination with lobby and ramp create conflicts and is not good.
A panelist noted the steps and planters appear to be outside of the property line. A panelist
noted that the expression / shape at Pacific Avenue could improve to facilitate mews

There are some good sustainable strategies, however, some other elements of leadership in
the technology and strategies to go further in the sustainability should be considered. For a
project of this size and scale, it needs to be more innovative and that push the boundaries
further and be exemplary.

• Applicant’s Response: The applicant team thanked the panel for their comments and will
take the comments into consideration for further improvement.

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