Vancouver, Canada


Named for the South Vancouver residents who fought in World War II, the original Sunset Memorial Community Centre opened in 1950. Two years prior, legendary crooner Bing Crosby performed at the site during a groundbreaking and fundraising ceremony. Over the years, the center started to show its age. Furthermore, because it was located two blocks away from a major street, it lacked visibility and accessibility.

To better serve the rapidly expanding community of Vancouver—with its high percentage of recent immigrants, young children, and young families—the city decided to build a new, larger center along Main Street. The facility was to include space for children and programs for immigrants and non-English speakers. Another man named Bing—Vancouver-based architect Bing Thom—and his firm were tapped to design the building.

The new, 30,000-square-foot facility was constructed on a six-block parcel adjacent to the 10-acre Sunset Nursery, which features greenhouses and planting beds. The building’s design draws upon the geometries of the city grid and the history of the site as a working farm, as well as the cultural diversity of South Vancouver.

The center integrates community and landscape together in a striking composition, with a plan that deploys rooms around an internal spine. The swooping roof structure, the most dramatic element of the building, has five free-form sections. Each section is unique in form and scale, and defines one of the buildings’ five core components: the central gymnasium, the multi-purpose space for community gatherings, the weight lifting and aerobic room, the arts and crafts area, and the administration offices.

Each of the building’s 46 structural concrete panels is uniquely shaped. Exterior panels are insulated, and remain exposed inside and out. The glazed curtain wall unifies the exterior with a horizontal pattern. The front elevation’s fritted-glass facade reads as a random checkerboard grid, alternating whimsically between opaque and translucent.


Vancouver Park Board

Bing Thom Architects
1430 Burrard Street
Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
V6Z 2A3
P: 604 682 1881
F: 604 688 1343

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Bing Thom*
Michael Heeney*
John Camfield
Francis Yan*
Shinobu Homma*
Robert Sandilands*
Marcos Hui

*indicates registered architects

Interior designer:
Bing Thom Architects

Structure: Fast & Epp

Electrical: Stantec

Mechanical: Stantec

Geotechnical: GeoPacific Consultants Ltd.

Code: Pioneer Consultants

Cost: LEC Quantity Surveyors

Parking: Bunt & Associates

Landscape: Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg

Acoustical: Brown Strachan Associates

General contractor:
The Haebler Group

Nic Lehoux 604 874 0918

CAD system, project management, or other software used:




Structural system:
Tilt-up concrete wall: Mardina Construction

Structural steel: Solid Rock Steel

Exterior cladding:

Metal/glass curtainwall: Prestige Glass

Concrete: Mardina Construction

Metro Roofing

Metal: Mercury Metals

Prestige Glass

Prestige glass

Accurate Door & Hardware

Hardware: Assa Abloy Canada Door Security Solutions

Built-up roofing: Firestone

Tile/shingles: GAF

Aluminum: Arcadia

Glass: PPG

Skylights: Velux

Metal doors: Stiles Custom Metal

Wood doors: Eggers

Upswinging doors, other: Cornell

Locksets: Schlage

Hinges: Stanley

Closers: LCN

Exit devices: Von Duprin

Pulls: Trimco

Interior finishes:
Acoustical ceilings: Owens Corning

Demountable partitions: Kwik-Wall

Paints and stains: Dunn-Edwards / Penofin

Paneling: 9 Wood

Floor and wall tile: Graniti Fiandre  (Bathrooms)

Wood flooring: Action Floor Systems

Resinous flooring: General Polymers

Recycled glass countertops: Vetrazzo

Office furniture: Turnstone / Steelcase

Interior ambient lighting: Peerless / Beta-Calco

Downlights: Prescolite / Kurt Versen / Zumtobel

Exterior: Bega

Controls: Lutron

Accessibility provision (lifts, ramping, etc.): Beta-Calco