The new state-of-the-art campus is one of the high-profile developments in the city’s recent history.
The new state-of-the-art campus is one of the high-profile developments in the city’s recent history.

University Canada West (UCW) opens stunning new Vancouver House Campus

Designed by iconic Danish architect, Bjarke Ingles of BIG, CNN dubbed the new campus one of the 'most anticipated buildings set to shape the world'
By HT Brand Studio
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 07:28 PM IST

VANCOUVER, DECEMBER 2020: British Columbia’s University Canada West (UCW) opened its beautiful new Vancouver House Campus in October 2020. Built as part of the Vancouver House development in the heart of the Beach District of Vancouver, and designed by the iconic Danish architect, Bjarke Ingles, the new state-of-the-art campus is one of the high-profile developments in the city’s recent history.

The architect, Bjarke Ingles, founder of leading architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), used the limiting factors of the complex site to create a shape that is as beautiful as it is unique. This design has been awarded Future Project of the Year at the 2015 World Architecture Awards in Singapore for its innovation and its beauty, while CNN described it as one of the “most anticipated buildings set to shape the world.” Vancouver House has since captured the world’s imagination.


The building’s unique shape and expressive design is a direct response to the environment surrounding it.
The building’s unique shape and expressive design is a direct response to the environment surrounding it.

Despite the unforeseen challenges faced by everybody in 2020, UCW has experienced unprecedented growth and transformation, which is marked by the construction of Vancouver House Campus. By applying the “Total Design” philosophy to the entire district surrounding the campus, this new construction occupies two of the podium buildings at the active core of the new waterfront neighbourhood called the Beach District, just steps away from Sunset Beach and the seawall, as well as restaurant, cafés and markets.

The Beach District community is designed as a year-round destination, featuring a marketplace, creative workspace, innovative retailers hosted in 5 shipping containers with rotating year-round programming. It is a unique mix of restaurants and cafes, one-off concepts, shops and services, food carts and craft fairs; all animated by a range of street celebrations, block parties and pop-up events. The Vancouver House development also accommodates Spinning Chandelier, a public art installation by renowned artist Rodney Graham. The piece is suspended beneath the Granville Street Bridge, rising slowly throughout the day and spinning downwards at a fixed time every night, drawing in visitors and residents alike.

At 90,000 square feet, UCW Vancouver House can accommodate more than 3,400 students.
At 90,000 square feet, UCW Vancouver House can accommodate more than 3,400 students.

At 90,000 square feet, UCW Vancouver House can accommodate more than 3,400 students. Those who are fortunate enough to reside here will be living inside an architectural triumph, which was designed as a smart response to a variety of restrictions and regulations that limited the size of the tower's footprint in downtown Vancouver. When it came to the design, Ingels had to consider a long list of concerns; including restrictions on the building’s silhouette to ensure that there is enough daylight shone on a neighbourhood park. The unique architecture appears to defy the laws of engineering when one looks at it from a distance as it twists upwards from a triangular base to a rectangular top. True to Ingels' portfolio of impressive work, the campus has a pixelated facade, which helps to create deep-set balconies for residents, who are living in the 493-foot-tall tower made up of 59 storeys, making it the fourth tallest building in the city.

As you drive across Granville Bridge into downtown Vancouver, it’s hard to miss the twisted 493-foot cantilevered residential tower sitting between the spaces where Granville Bridge trifolds. The building’s unique shape and expressive design is a direct response to the environment surrounding it. In fact, it is this very environment that presented Ingels with the opportunity to get creative and turn what residents see as negatives, such as awkward bridges and near-constant annual rain, into positives. To create this, he approached Vancouver House with the idea that there was no ‘front of house, back of house’ set up, which Ingles believes to be the failure of the urban landscape of cities around the globe. His aim is that everyone sees the triangles when they pass by the building and understand how the bridges have given shape to Vancouver House.

Ingels describes Vancouver House as a “contemporary descendant of the Flatiron Building in New York.” Another part of its appeal is its ability to transform the location, which is downtown between the West End and Yaletown, just steps from Sunset Beach, English Bay and Vancouver’s 28-kilometre seawall; the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. The Beach District surrounding Vancouver House will create a new cultural district for the city that will be active and vibrant day and night. Ingles has said that it is a perfect example of the power of great architecture and the ways it can give a new lease of life to an area that cities have given up on and developers have dismissed; making it a compelling neighbourhood and destination worth visiting.

Cyndi McLeod, CEO of Global University Systems Canada, the parent company of UCW, says, “Renowned for their business education offering and teaching-intensive educational experiences, University Canada West’s new campus will offer new leading innovative programs for the leaders of tomorrow to broaden their knowledge and skill set in a competitive and evolving digital business environment. UCW will also continue to operate its West Pender Campus, as University Canada West continues to expand.”

University Canada West (UCW) is a business and technology-focused university located in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
University Canada West (UCW) is a business and technology-focused university located in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

University Canada West (UCW) is a business and technology-focused university located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Established in 2004, UCW offers a range of career-focused programs including the Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication, Associate of Arts and Master of Business Administration. UCW’s MBA and the BCom are ACBSP-accreditedThe new UCW Vancouver House campus opened in the Fall of 2020.

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