The $240-million Exchange office tower is Vancouver’s tallest LEED Platinum office tower and Canada’s first LEED Platinum heritage conversion with the restoration of the Old Stock Exchange building, which opened in 1929.
The tower recently opened in the heart of this downtown area. Selected by the city officials as one of a few new, high density, office developments in the city’s central business district this new tower will bring valuable diversity, revenue and jobs to the neighborhood and to the city as a whole.
Designed by Swiss architect Harry Gugger in collaboration with Vancouver-based Iredale Group Architecture, the design rationale for the new Exchange tower is entirely derived from its surrounding context and environment; in particular the existing Old Stock Exchange building, which was preserved and rehabilitated on the site. This refined, handsome and elegant building has facades of carefully composed vertical pilasters that are designed both to best accentuate its height and at the same time ground the building within the streetscape of the city.
The new 31-storey tower blends in and establishes a dialogue with this prominent original building in order to create an overall composition that looks at once to Vancouver’s future without obscuring its past.
By both breaking up the mass of the tower over its entire height and by recessing its bulk from the perimeter of the site above the Old Stock Exchange, the new building allows the existing structure to fully define the streetscape, retaining and confirming its proud position within the heart of Vancouver’s downtown.
As the form of the tower retreats lower down to better define the original form and independence of the Old Stock Exchange, it consequently grows higher above to maximize its potential on the site. Here at the upper, more valuable floor levels, the tower steps out in two directions to provide larger, more efficient floor plates. These steps consequently create terraces on the tower’s sides that are optimally positioned to exploit the best views of the surrounding city and the dramatic panorama of the mountains beyond.
The stratification and stepping of the tower’s form, coupled with the chamfering of its corners both reduces its overall bulk and impact on its neighbors and leaves the Old Stock Exchange building as the single-largest element on the site, emphasizing its presence within the city center.
Restricted by viewing corridors from creating a strong intervention on the skyline, ‘The Exchange’ instead looks to create a distinctive icon within the space of the city itself. Viewed from the street, its cantilevered form creates a unique identity further pronouncing its individuality and historical pedigree.
A respect for the architectural and significant socioeconomic heritage of this original building is also paramount to the origins and identity of the tower’s facade design. The strongly vertical nature of the Old Stock Exchange’s façade is echoed in the elegant pinstripe of the tower’s external aluminum mullions. This unified system responds to the solid pilasters of the Old Stock Exchange Building that is to be retained on the site whilst accentuating the verticality of the tower itself, defining a more uniform and slimmer overall appearance of the building from all orientations.
The vertical mullions perform a further function, shading the building envelope and significantly reducing its cooling load requirements. Their passive screening effect also greatly improves the visual privacy between the tower and its immediate residential neighbor, Jameson House.
The hotel in the tower will be managed by Executive hotels while a Vancouver accounting firm, Smythe LLP, and a fintech company, HyperWallet Systems, will occupy a total of 50,500 square feet. Swiss chocolatier Lindt has a retail store on the ground level and Sovereign General Insurance recently signed a lease.
The project has already won the Exchange the 2017 American Architecture Prize for Heritage Architecture. The tower is the first major project in North America that Credit Suisse Asset Management has built from the ground up.