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Transparent Tunnel

Lions Gate Hospital’s new ‘Glass Cube’ Power Plant burrows underground, reducing disruption to the campus and creating a safer haven in case of seismic interruptions.

North Vancouver, British Colombia


Lions Gate Hospital provides a full range of general and many specialized acute care services. As part of its Campus Master Plan, a new Acute Care Facility (ACF) is planned that incorporates the area currently occupied by the existing central power plant. In order to accommodate the construction of this new ACF, a new power plant must be constructed and the existing plant demolished. The DIALOG team has been engaged by Vancouver Coastal Health to design and coordinate the construction of the new power plant and the demolition of the existing plant – timed to accommodate the construction schedule for the Acute Care Facility.

A Burrowed Scheme

The schematic design consists of a single-level glass building with mezzanine level located below adjacent grade. Below grade, the structure will have two levels, the lowest of which will contain the main boiler plant, control room and tool storage area, connecting to the existing tunnel system for service distribution and the mechanical service room in the hospital’s HOpe Centre. Three large vertical flue stacks, approximately 40m high from grade level, will be required for exhaust from the boilers and will extend up through the Power Plant building structure.

Glass Cube

The Power Plant in itself is a complex mechanical and electrical project requiring rigorous coordination of the engineering disciplines to produce efficient, functional and economical design. A simultaneous challenge lies in the manifestation of the underground function that emerges above grade through an architectural expression that is seamlessly woven into the fabric of the campus. The team sought to create a cohesive above grade structure that will locate the necessary main boiler exhaust stacks away from the windows of the HOpe Centre.

Digging In

The structure will be constructed of poured in place concrete and will be located directly adjacent to the north concrete face of the Hope Centre. As the building is below grade, it will experience minimal seismic or wind stresses.

Healing Power

This project allows future development of this important healthcare facility to meet the changing needs of the community and power for the entire hospital campus.

Project facts

Builder: Turner Construction Canada
Collaborators: H.H Angus & Associates Limited, Theakston Environment Consulting Engineers, BKL Consultants, Binnie Consulting Ltd., LMDG Building Code Consultants Ltd.
Client: Vancouver Coastal Health