Client Westbank Corp.
Size 600,000 sq.ft.
Status Under Construction
Images Revery Architecture, Hayes Davidson, Andrew Latreille
Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this mixed-use development combines The Butterfly—a new 57-storey luxury market tower—with the heritage upgrade, rehabilitation, and expansion of the historic First Baptist Church (FBC), built in 1911. Proposing novel, more permeable boundaries between indoor and outdoor, private and public, the project seeks to foster community spirit through integrated forms of social and environmental sustainability.
The Butterfly tower’s dynamic, cloud-like form establishes a bold new landmark for Vancouver’s skyline and a unique urban dialogue with the heritage of the site. The sculpted façade comprises an innovative assembly of insulated Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete panels that that both curve in plan and project in elevation, high performance glazing, and wide spanning balconies. Inspired by the church’s pipe organ motifs, the parabolic chamfers of the tower’s base honour the historic FBC.
Addressing the social barriers commonly associated with high-rise living, the Butterfly features unique outdoor sky gardens at each residential level; these welcoming semi-private spaces reconnect residents with nature high above the ground plane while promoting neighbourliness and interaction. In addition, they provide environmental benefits by way of natural cooling, ventilation, and daylighting, enhancing occupant comfort and reducing overall energy demands when compared to conventional enclosed corridors.
The tower’s podium level, galleria and parkade are closely integrated with the heritage building. The retention and expansion of this historic facility will ensure the continuity and augmentation of much-needed community support including counselling, childcare services, multi-purpose spaces, a gymnasium, and meals and emergency shelter for those experiencing houselessness. The project’s mid-rise affordable rental/social housing building offers communal social spaces via its rooftop gardens, encouraging friendships among its residents with a mix of community gardens, outdoor kitchen, and landscaped playgrounds.
Currently under construction, the entirety of the project is designed to LEED Gold standards.
The Sky Gardens
The Butterfly’s sky gardens celebrate the constant change of nature and the passage of time. Emphasizing natural air, light and materials, these features are designed to stimulate the senses and support the formation of sub-communities within the larger strata, breaking down the social barriers commonly associated with high-rise living.
The Butterfly’s amenity pool presents a striking two-lane, 50-metre Olympic-size, triple-glazed swimming pool that bridges the podium roof and the tower’s main amenity space. It took just one month to install all 36 high-performance, modular prefabricated structural ribs—147 precast concrete sections transported by truck and craned onto their 5th level perch. In addition to supporting the pool’s glass enclosure, the ribs will be integrated with mechanical air supply, electrical conduit for the pool lighting, and acoustic panels.