BIG is unstoppable. Judging by the frequency with which the Danish firm pops up in major design competitions across the globe, it just might be the architecture practice closest to achieving world domination. Now, Vancouver can count itself among the cities that will be emBIGgened (see what we did there?) by founding partner and charismatic frontman Bjarke Ingels and his team. Beach + Howe, named for its location at a downtown intersection, is a twisting, elegantly top-heavy tower that will house residential, commercial, and retail space within its 49 stories.
The mixed-use structure’s slim profile and unique footprint was inspired by a classic Big Apple icon. “It’s a contemporary descendant of the Flatiron Building,” Ingels explains in the firm’s brief. “In that tradition, its architecture is not the result of formal excess or architectural idiosyncrasies, but rather a child of its circumstances: the trisected site and the concerns for neighboring buildings and park spaces.” Unlike its predecessor, however, Beach + Howe’s three-cornered base transforms into a four-sided shape as it ascends, topped with a rectangular roof that gently cantilevers over the public paths and plazas below.