LMN Architects / DA Architects & Planners / Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership

Vancouver, British Columbia

Though Vancouver Convention Centre West spans 22 acres on the downtown waterfront and includes infrastructure for such future amenities as a seaplane terminal, the center is one of the city’s more humble buildings. LMN Architects, with DA Architects + Planners and Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, shaped 1 million square feet of exhibit halls, conference rooms, and event spaces into a sloping, grass-covered building that looks more like a stepped hillock wrapped in glass than a business complex.

Before the center’s completion, in 2009, this swath of downtown Vancouver abruptly ended at a brownfield site on Coal Harbor. To connect the land back to the city, LMN brought the urban grid to the waterfront with public promenades. The architects saw the structure (built partly over the water) not just as a bridge between harbor and city but also as a platform for extending the area’s marine and wildlife habitats. The center’s living roof hosts bee colonies, for instance, and tiered concrete steps around the foundation piles create shallow waters for salmon. “We were really interested in seeing how the activities of people intersect the landscape and the marine systems, and trying to make them all better because they’re connecting in one composition,” LMN partner Mark Reddington says of the LEED Platinum building.

Working with the landscape architects at PWL Partnership, LMN treated the concreteand-steel structure as a landform. To preserve sightlines for pedestrians, the architects pulled the meeting rooms and other interior elements in from the perimeter to keep the edges transparent. In some places, they dropped the 6-acre living roof down to eye level to frame views and provide a constant reference point to the landscape.

With three times the space of the adjacent Convention Centre East, the complex has doubled event attendance since its opening. In fiscal year 2012, the two centers together hosted 790,000 people (compared with 393,000 the year before the expansion was completed). By treating urban and natural habitats as one integrated mass, the project enriches the neighborhood even for Vancouverites who never set foot in the building. “It brings to the community a dense, diverse, ecologically strong place,” says Reddington. “It becomes a focal point of life in the community.”

Architects: LMN Architects (design architect); DA Architects + Planners, Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership (architects of record)

Size: 1.2 million square feet

Cost: $625 million

Completion date: April 2009


Formal name of building:
Vancouver Convention Centre West

Vancouver BC, Canada

Completion Date:
April 2009

Gross square footage:
1.2 million square feet

Total construction cost:

BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo)

LMN Architects
801 Second Avenue, Suite 501
Seattle, WA 98104
T 206.682.3460
F 206.343.9388

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
The architect team was an equal collaboration of three firms: Vancouver-based DA Architects & Planners and Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, and LMN Architects of Seattle. DA and MCM jointly served as architect-of-record with responsibility for executive leadership, construction documents and project delivery. LMN led the architectural and urban design. All three firms worked as an integrated team throughout the planning, design and construction process.

Consultant Teams:
Design Architect: LMN
Prime Architects: Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects & Planners
Project Manager: VCCEP Ltd. (Stantec Consulting)
Contractor: PCL Construction Enterprises
Civil Engineer: Sandwell Engineering Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Schenke/Bawol Engineering Ltd.
Landscape Architect: PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
Marine/Foundation Consultant: WorleyParsons Westmar
Mechanical Engineer: Stantec Consulting
Structural Engineer: Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers and Earth Tech (Canada) Inc.
Acoustic Consultants: Arup Acoustics and Daniel Lyzun & Associates
Audio Visual: Sparling
Barrier Free: Barrier Free Design
Building Code Consultant: LMDG Building Code Consultants Ltd.
Building Envelope: Consultant Morrison Hershfield
Civil Engineer: Sandwell Engineering Inc.
Commissioning Authority and Mechanical Commissioning Agent: KD Engineering Co.
Communications Consultant: The Pace Group
Cost Consultant: BTY Group
Design/Development Manager: K. Grassi Project Development Ltd.
Environmental Consultant: EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Ethics Advisor: Carol Roberts
Facility Operations Consultant: Buckley-Christison International LLC
Fire Protection Engineer: GHL Consultants Ltd.
Geotechnical Engineer: Golder Associates
Horticultural & Ecological Consultant: Rana Creek Habitat Restoration
Food Service Consultant: William Caruso & Associates
Materials Engineer: Levelton Consultants
Parking and Traffic Engineer: Bunt & Associates Engineering Ltd. and ND Lea Consulting Ltd.
Project Management: Stantec Consulting
Public Art Consultant: Public Art Management
Quality Management Consultant: Levelton Consultants Ltd.
Retail Consultant: Urbanics Consultants Ltd.
Revenue Maximization: Bell-Irving Grauer Enterprise Corporation
Security Advisor: 3Si Risk Strategies
Signage & Wayfinding Consultant: Gottschalk & Ash
Specialty Lighting Consultant: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
Surveyor: Butler Sundvick & Associates
Sustainability Coordinator: Sustainability Solutions Group
Telecommunications Consultant: RADA Technology Consulting Inc.
Value Engineering Facilitator: Olympic Associates
Vertical Transportation Consultant: John W Gunn Consultants Inc.
Wind Consultant: DFA Engineering

Nic Lehoux
Vancouver Convention Centre
PWL Partnership
LMN Architects