June 2014

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The Austin by Tiffany Sloan A t The Austin, perched high atop Blue Mountain in the Vancouver suburb of Co- quitlam and towering well above all its neighbours, there really isn't a bad seat in the house. Residents of the 19-storey high-rise get unobstructed horizons in every direction, looking out over mountains to the north and the mighty Fraser River to the south. It's a truly ideal location for what will be powerhouse industrial developer Beedie Development Group's first foray into residential development in many years. Though Beedie didn't come by it easily. "It's a great area, and very com- munity-centric, but there was only old rental stock and single-family homes available – it hadn't had a new multi- family residential development in quite some time," explains Houtan Rafii, VP, residential development, for the Beedie Development Group. In hopes of rejuvenating the area, the Cit y of Coquitlam draf ted the Austin Heights Neighbourhood Plan, which supported multi-family devel- opments in a bid to accommodate first- courtesy beedie living raef grohne time buyers as well as empty nesters looking to downsize without leaving the community. Beedie's plan for The Austin – with 133 suites plus 4,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground level – was the first project to be green-lighted under the newly approved plan. "But although the neighbourhood plan was very well sup- ported during the consultation process, and although our design was a good fit with that plan, there was still some nervousness among some members of the community with respect to having a mid- to high-rise building built in the neighbourhood," explains Rafii. "We had to work hard to appease those concerns, and to design a building that was as respectful of the neighbourhood as possible." The biggest compromise was reducing it from the origi- nally intended 24 storeys to the current 19. The building has also been set as far back on the site as possible, with the park- ing garage only accessible from the back, to keep the front street area pedestrian-friendly. The shape, too, attempts to be unobtrusive, "Or, at least as unobtrusive as a high-rise can possibly be," adds Rafii. "Most towers are quite symmetrical and full of 90-degree angles; here, one side is all curved glass, which really softens its pro- file. There's a lot of gracefulness to it." Chris Dikeakos, managing principal of Chris Dikeakos Architects Inc., explains: "We've taken the central core of the building – where the elevator and mechanical spaces are located – and highlighted it as the central organizing element of the design. This central spine organizes the various facades of the building and provides the main views to and from the site, with a more rectilinear vocabulary on the other facades." The Austin is a conventional reinforced concrete structure, cast-in-place, with flat slabs for the residential tower and a central core and gravity frame system consisting of columns and walls. The greatest challenge on the project, if any, from a structural perspective, was that integrating the commercial space with the residential tower required extra co-ordination, says John Markulin, partner with structural consultant John Bryson & Partners. "But I think it was because of that effort that had to go into co-ordinating and laying out all of the dif- ferent spaces from a structural, architectural and mechani- cal interface standpoint, that it went very smoothly during construction," he adds. Despite the unique "central spine" that moved the mechan- ical spaces from the core of the building to its sides, the mechanical systems themselves were quite traditional for a june 2014 /81 The Austin Glastech Congratulates Beedie Living, Chris Dikeakos Architects and Axiom Builders on the successful completion of the "The Austin" At Glastech, we have over 25 years of proven performance, quality and innovation in contract Glazing. We design, manufacture and install commercial glass and glazing systems. We specialize in custom design, high profile project. From new product development to existing product innovation, we help Architects and Developers choose the system that best suits all their design needs. We offer full design assist and development on any design build and P3 projects. 1 3 8 3 C o a s t M e r i d i a n r d . • P o r t C o q u i t l a M , B . C . • V 3 C 6 l 1 P h o n e : 6 0 4 - 9 4 1 - 9 1 1 5 • F a x : 6 0 4 - 9 4 1 - 3 1 1 3 w w w . g l a s t e C h . C a Glastech Contracting.indd 1 14-05-21 9:10 AM p.80-83TheAustin.indd 81 14-06-03 10:24 AM

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