Opened in October 2017, Parq is an urban oasis in downtown Vancouver featuring a 72,000 sq. ft. casino, two luxury hotels, eight diverse restaurants, a fitness centre and spa, a 30,000 sq. ft. rooftop park and 60,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art meetings and event space.
Embracing the Yaletown and Gastown neighbourhoods, the mixed-use complex designed by ACDF + Architecture49 and IBI Group is a tribute to the city’s diverse natural and cultural environments. Beginning with design elements that embraced the stadium’s emblematic architecture, the team embarked on a journey to create a seamless flow that would extend from BC Place and Parq, to the complex’s adjoining neighbourhoods and majestic landscapes.
“Parq was conceived as the missing link between the active environment of BC Place stadium and the downtown core’s thriving entertainment district,” explains lead design architect Maxime Frappier. “We have put forward a design that not only fulfills that role, but which also captures the essence of the city and its breathtaking natural surroundings.”
Defined by a myriad of lines, shapes, curves and slopes, Parq’s design is comprised of multiple façades paying tribute to different elements of the complex’s surroundings. Its fluid forms and dynamic composition reflect the mountains, valleys, gorges and seascapes that frame the city. A curtain wall adorns the main façade, unveiling copper earth tones with shimmering louvers set in a pattern extracted from pixelated mountain images. As sunlight shines and repositions through the course of the day, the metallic louvers bring the building to life in animated ways, while their reflections ‘dance’ on the nearby waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Life behind the façade
Seamless connections between Parq’s interior and exterior further extend the predominant theme. An abundance of clear glass and oversized windows connect patrons with the vibrant pedestrian flow and bike path traffic of surrounding city streets, while enticing passersby to enter the complex to sample one of eight restaurants and lounges, featuring a wide range of regional and provincial cuisines.
Commercial space drives ground level activity, while abundant natural sunlight greets visitors looking to try their luck at the complex’s 72,000 sq. ft. multi-level casino. Spread across the second and third levels, Parq Vancouver’s casino includes 11 private salons, including four with balconies offering stunning city skyline views.
Getting down to business, Parq Vancouver offers more than 60,000 sq. ft. of multifunctional meeting and event space spread across the fourth floor. The facilities are comprised of boardrooms, flexible meeting spaces and 13 ballrooms, including the 15,604 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Parq Grand Ballroom, now the largest hotel ballroom in Vancouver.
Built to LEED Gold Standards, Parq raises the bar on environmental considerations with its signature 30,000 sq. ft. outdoor, sixth level park. The lush, urban retreat features more than 200 native pines and 15,000 local plants. The rooftop park’s Nordic flora and scenic mountain views provide a ‘disconnection’ within a sea of connections, offering moments of tranquility seemingly worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the streets below.
“The park adds a sustainable element to the project and is a model example of innovative use of green space,” says Frappier. “When you combine that atmosphere with the surrounding scenic views, it transports nature into the heart of an urban environment.”
A room with a view
Rising above the urban garden, Parq is also home to two high-end hotel experiences, including Western Canada’s first JW Marriott. The hotels provide direct access to the casino, while contributing a wide range of complementary amenities including restaurants and lounges, meeting and event spaces, a spa and wellness centre and indoor parking.
The JW Marriott Parq Vancouver occupies the twin towers on the east side of the complex, with 281 guest rooms and 48 luxury suites, including a stunning split-level villa. The hotel also offers invigorating wellness and relaxation courtesy of the Spa by JW, a 17th-floor oasis featuring a steam room, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and personalized signature treatments using Aromatherapy Associate products.
Meanwhile, the Douglas offers a seamless connection to the magnificent natural surroundings of the Parq complex. The 188-room property includes seven luxurious suites and three two-story lofts. Guest rooms are appointed with warm woods and task lighting, while in-room amenities include purely natural Aesop products and detoxifying charcoal water.
Nature abounds in the elegant surroundings of the sixth-floor lobby, which connects to the complex’s rooftop park. A living green wall and 25-foot Douglas fir replica greet arriving guests, while the adjacent D/6 Bar & Lounge serves up a collection of signature handcrafted cocktails, including Douglas fir-infused gin.
The facility is a tribute to the City of Vancouver and its abundant natural attributes, while reflecting a respectful architectural vision that considers and complements adjoining developments in the surrounding area.
Photos: Ema Peter