The design for the Barclay Village twin towers in Vancouver’s west end by German architect Büro Ole Scheeren draws inspiration from the texture and scale of the surrounding urban fabric. It folds the typologies of the two historic villages from the horizontal into the vertical, creating carefully articulated twin towers that integrate into the local neighbourhood.
Commissioned by Bosa and Kingswood Properties, the development uniquely integrates social housing, market rental and condominiums for sale in a residential complex that goes beyond the stratified apartment block and offers a multitude of shared spaces for social interaction.
“Whereas tower typologies by default reinforce isolation and division, ‘Barclay Village’ proposes a design that becomes an extension of the local neighbourhood and community and that opens up the confines of the tower to reconnect architecture with its natural and social environment,” says Ole Scheeren.
The twin towers are not conceived as separate entities but are closely connected with each other and the natural and urban spaces around them. Above the ground levels, a multi-layered bridge physically joins the two structures and creates a semi-internal courtyard that is both protected whilst remaining open to the street. In contrast to the typical tower base with hard street edges and limited access, the design for ‘Barclay Village’ proposes a softer, permeable approach with a series of receding plateaus that allow the surrounding greenery to overgrow them and fuse the structures into the streetscape.
“Through the integration of nature on the various terraced spaces of the twin towers, we are extending the typology of the ‘tower in the park’ defined by Vancouver’s West End Plan through the idea of bringing the ‘park into the tower’,” says Ole Scheeren.
The space between the towers is precisely defined rather than merely residual, with the various ground level amenities – lobbies, gym, retail and recreational facilities, as well as a daycare center on the upper levels – spilling into the courtyard. Open terraces and sky gardens extend the landscape from the courtyard and connector levels upwards into the towers, populating the residences with outdoor green spaces.
Barclay Village will mark Ole Scheeren’s second project in Vancouver after the unveiling of 1500 West Georgia in 2015, now rebranded as Fifteen Fifteen.