December 2015

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DECEMBER 2015 | 67 Nordstrom Vancouver / Pacific Centre Redevelopment PHOTOGRAPHY + RENDERING COURTESY CADILLAC FAIRVIEW CORPORATION LTD. Nordstrom Vancouver / Pacific Centre Redevelopment by ROBIN BRUNET F rom white elephant to a retail game- changer, the redevelopment of Pacific Centre's Nordstrom building in Vancouver (formerly Sears and Eaton Centre) is a stunning achievement for owners Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd. and a hardworking team of archi- tects and contractors. Even more remarkable is that this team turned one of Vancouver's more notorious eyesores into a visually-strik- ing LEED Gold facility via a fast-track process. Cadillac Fairview senior VP Tom Knoepfel likens it to "driving a car before all the tires have been installed." Knoepfel explains: "In order to meet the opening dates of our clients, we had to go full speed into demolition and construc- tion with a lack of detailed information, including the condition of the building." Jeremy Woolf and Daryl Hutchison, managing principal and principal respectively of ABBARCH Architecture Inc. (the architects of record for the base building), had worked with Cadillac Fairview on various components of the Pacific Centre since 2004. "The rede- velopment began in the spring of 2012, and it was determined that although the structure didn't meet seismic or life- safety requirements [the building, orig- inally designed by American architect Cesar Pelli, was first opened in 1973], the concrete columns and slabs of the first levels and structural steel on the top lev- els were solid and allowed for a gutting- to-the-studs renovation," says Woolf. Cadillac Fairview's design group collaborated with James K.M. Cheng Architects Inc. to establish a clear vision for the final product. "In place of the oppressive white monolith that was created for Eaton's, we wanted lightness and transparency, and inter- action at street level," says Cheng. "We also wanted balconies on the top level to reduce the building's appearance of bulk and make it interesting when lit at night. Some of our solutions were rela- tively simple, for example, beige tex- tured stone and glazing at street level, which eliminated the gloomy ambiance of the original building." Cheng adds, "These and many other key design decisions were made prior to consulting with prospective tenants, in order to make the building as appealing as possible to them." In addition to a new facade, the inte- rior of the 600,000-square-foot building was redesigned for three distinct uses: at basement level, 65,000 square foot of space ultimately became an extension of Pacific Centre, adding 12 new retail- ers to the shopping mall. Levels one to three total 230,000 square feet and are occupied by Nordstrom's Canada flag- ship store. Finally, levels four to seven provide 289,000 square feet of AAA- class open office space (the largest in Vancouver, with 17-foot ceilings and two landscaped atriums) and will be occupied by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Microsoft and Miller Thomson LLP. C heng , whose work i ncludes Shangri-La Vancouver and the Shaw Tower, calls the project one of the most complicated he's ever been involved in. "That's because the building was a big box with 75,000-square-foot floor plates, three times larger than normal for Vancouver," he says. "This posed a lot of challenges, such as abiding by a stan- dard of comfort that no office worker should be farther than 40 feet from a natural light source – which obliged us, in addition to the exterior glazing, to create two atriums for the facility." The offices had to have their own entrance, and Cadillac Fairview was adamant about them having Georgia Street exposure, so a glass cube-style LOCATION 799 Robson Street, Vancouver, B.C. OWNER/DEVELOPER Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd. ARCHITECTS ABBARCH Architecture Inc. / James K.M. Cheng Architects Inc. GENERAL CONTRACTOR Ledcor Construction Ltd. NORDSTROM TENANT IMPROVEMENTS Omicron STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. MECHANICAL/ ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Smith + Andersen LEED CONSULTANT WSP CURTAINWALL CONSULTANT RDH Building Science Inc. BUILDING ENVELOPE CONSULTANT Morrison Hershfield LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT PFS Studio TOTAL SIZE 600,000 square feet TOTAL COST Undisclosed 11:34 AM 8:21 AM

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