Vancouver Convention Centre West

Crowds can be seen in this photo lingering on the promenade the overlooks the waterfront.


  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Building type(s): Community, Park, Assembly, Commercial office, Other
  • 1,200,000 ft2 (111,000 m2)
  • Project scope: a single building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed April 2009
  • Rating: Canada Green Building Council LEED-NC --Level: Platinum

The design of the new Vancouver Convention Centre West presented an opportunity to fully engage the urban ecosystem at the intersection of a vibrant downtown core and one of the most spectacular natural ecosystems in North America. Certified LEED Canada Platinum, the project weaves together architecture, interior architecture, and urban design in a unified whole that functions as a living part of both the city and the harbor.

As a convention center, the building's vast program encompasses at once a single building and a new urban district. Occupying a former brownfield site on the downtown waterfront, the CAN $883 million development is approximately 14 acres on land and 8 acres over water, with 1 million square feet of convention space, 90,000 square feet of retail space, 450 parking stalls, and 400,000 square feet of walkways, bikeways, public open space, and plazas. An elevated six-lane viaduct for vehicles and pedestrians connects the site back to the city grid, while infrastructure for further development extends into the water, creating a base for future commercial and recreational marinas, a float plane terminal, and water-based retail opportunities.

Environmental Aspects

The central design challenge was to create and integrate a 22-acre development program at the intersection of the urban realm and the marine habitat, tripling the size of the existing convention district. Each environmental interface is carefully considered, roughly grouped into a landscape habitat, a marine habitat, and a human habitat. The project defines an urban district that is the focal point of the downtown waterfront in a city of intense civic involvement and environmental awareness.

Project parameters at the outset included the preservation of view corridors to the water from major downtown streets, which specifically dictate the angles of the roof perimeter and the public plaza. Salmon migration was also a key factor, since the migration path passes along the downtown shoreline. Salmon cannot pass through large unlit areas, requiring an artificial reef to guide migration around the perimeter of the foundation piers.

The building's LEED Platinum certification is the result of a vested commitment to examining opportunities for sustainable design at every phase of the process. That commitment encompassed all aspects of the design, from energy and water systems to integration with existing infrastructure to public-realm and aesthetic considerations.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by BC Pavilion Corporation, Corporation, for-profit
  • Typically occupied by 160 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 225,000 visitors per week, 32 hours per visitor per week


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green specifications, Performance measurement and verification, Operations and maintenance, Transportation benefits, Brownfield redevelopment, Open space preservation, Wildlife habitat, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Graywater, Wastewater treatment, Massing and orientation, Glazing, Passive solar, HVAC, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Durability, Recycled materials, Local materials, C&D waste management, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring

Photo credit: Image: Nic Lehoux

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Last updated: 4/14/2011

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