February 2015

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FEBRUARY 2015 | 69 Altitude PHOTOGRAPH + RENDERING COURTESY GBL ARCHITECTS Altitude by ZUZANNA WODZYNSKA O n the northeast corner of Burnaby Mountain in Greater Vancouver, B.C., stands Altitude, the newest addition to Burnaby's ever-expanding residential housing. Located on the edge of the Simon Fraser Universit y campus and sur- rounded by 1,400 acres of forest, Altitude is comprised of twin residential towers, 12 and 14 storeys respectively, which are being built in two phases. The East Tower, phase one, is scheduled to be complete in early 2015 with 95 units, while the West Tower's 115 units will follow in phase two. The two cast-in-place concrete high- rises are terraced to maximize outdoor space and reference the sloped terrain on which they stand. The buildings mirror one another across a central courtyard that is fully landscaped with a variety of public, semi-public and pri- vate spaces. "The modern, West Coast design incorporates a strong horizontal expres- sion bisected by bold vertical fins which transition into horizontal extended eye- brows, accentuating the stepped nature of the buildings," describes Tom Bell, principal at GBL Architects Inc. who designed the project. Window mullions, blue accent spandrel panels and custom- designed balcony railings all contribute to the horizontal composition. Facing Universit y Crescent, the street on which the towers are located, a central vertical spine will incorporate public art. A competition was created to decide the chosen artist and a design is under development. A light component will be included in the design for night- time viewing. At an elevation of 1,200 feet, Altitude has the highest rising towers in Metro Vancouver. "At almost every level of this project, the views of the surround- ing Lower Mainland are breathtak- ing," says Darin Hughes, VP at Scott Construction Group Ltd., the construc- tion management company on the proj- ect. "At the penthouse level the views are 360 degrees, from the North Shore Mountains, up Indian Arm, to downtown [Vancouver] and the lower Fraser Valley." Stepping inside, residents and visi- tors will be greeted by a two-storey lobby with full-height wood panelling on the feature wall and convenient seating. The lobby also has a geometric, three-dimensional tile mural feature, as well as a pendant light fixture designed by Arturo Alvarez and a European fabric feature in the elevator cabs. The units themselves have high quality finishes that complement the outdoor environment surrounding the towers, through natural stone mosaics, wood cabinets and wide-plank engi- neered oak hardwood flooring in hall- ways, kitchens, living and dining rooms. Residents can customize their home with one of three contemporary colour schemes and every home includes a private outdoor space equipped with power outlets. Penthouse suites fea- ture oversized private rooftop terraces, which are a first on Burnaby Mountain. Low consumption plumbing fixtures, low-VOC paint and finishes, and Energy Star appliances were all used in the inte- rior design of residences by i3 Design Group Ltd. "When we started the proj- ect, it was much harder to find environ- mentally responsible products such as plumbing fixtures," states Hong Duong, lead designer on the project from i3 Design. "Three years later, they are now much more widely available and are almost considered standard." The community where Altitude is located, UniverCity, has its own Green Building Strategy – a comprehensive sustainability program that all build- ings in the area must adhere to. Energy saving strategies were put into place in a wide variety of aspects on the project. Some water conser vat ion was achieved through low-f low fixtures and drought tolerant planting. Water retention was used as a central land- scape feature. "The project contains a runnel travelling through the court- yard and terminating into a rain gar- den containing native vegetation on the north side of the property," says GBL's Bell. Other water related sustainability features include dual-flush toilets, eco- friendly tub and shower systems, and an advanced stormwater management system. Hydronic hot water heating is provided by UniverCity's sustainable District Energy System. To save energy, operable openings such as casement windows or patio doors in all residential units' exterior walls provide natural ventilation to allow resi- dents indoor comfort without the use of air conditioning. Energy efficient bulbs are used as well, including in the conve- nient recessed, under-cabinet lighting. Numerous sustainability efforts were also implemented during construction. "We find that large commercial projects requiring a sustainability target are pretty typical these days," notes Hughes. "We have developed internal systems that easily track these requirements, such as the Indoor Air Quality Plan and its implementation." Sustainable construction site man- agement also reduced the number of trees cleared and recycled up to 75 per cent of construction waste. The selec- tion of materials was also in adherence with the Green Building Strategy. For instance, Altitude has drywall with 15 per cent recycled content, concrete with 20 per cent Fly Ash content and 100 per cent Green Label carpet. Scott Construction Group also used rental, reclaimed, or reused forms for the cast- in-place concrete. "The main challenge for us was gen- erated by the steep terrain and under- ground parking structure," states Bell. "It has been designed to be supported over grade at the downhill lowest por- tion of the building, with a sustainable water drainage gallery beneath." Despite the steep sloped hillside, the building perimeter meets or transi- tions to all grades, including the street level and interior courtyard. "The loca- tion on the side of the mountain and the weather patterns were unique, and required some additional down days as the fog and snow rolled in during the winter months," adds Hughes. Nevertheless, Altitude is located on one of the last premium locations in UniverCity – a community that com- bines the wilderness and peace of the surrounding park with quick and easy access to city life. A LOCATION 8955 University High Street, Burnaby, B.C. DEVELOPER Hungerford Properties ARCHITECT GBL Architects Inc. CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Scott Construction Group STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT John Bryson & Partners MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT MCW Consultants Ltd. INTERIOR DESIGN i3 Design Group Ltd. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT PWL Partnership Inc. TOTAL AREA 203,356 square feet TOTAL COST Undisclosed

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