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The High Life

The first Shangri-La project in Canada, Vancouver’s tallest building offers heavenly views of the city by the sea

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver's Tallest Building

This 62-storey, 646 ft. structure consists of podium and tower components incorporating retail, restaurants, the Shangri-La Hotel/Spa, office, live-work, and residential levels above seven levels of underground parkade.

Deep Roots

The build began with a pour in place concrete building gravity system. The tower structure is resting on a 12’ deep raft and pad foundation of various depth on sandstone. The project set a construction record in Vancouver for the deepest excavation (85’) at the time.

Lateral Design

Moving upwards, it has a stepped-tower-core-design, which reflects the primary building functions, and the triangular building mass. The building lateral system is a ductile coupling stepped core that houses 9 elevators and stairs with steps occurring at level 17 (top of hotel) and at level 46 with 3 elevators terminating at each step. Core wall thickness and concrete strength ranges from 60” to 12” and 70MPa to 40Mpa respectively from the base to the top of the building.

Less Is More - No Damper

The wall thickness, coupling beam stiffness and concrete strength were selected to minimize the gravity induced lateral demand, and to meet the International Organization Standard’s suggested wind motion limits, without the use of supplemental mechanical or hydraulic damping. This helped architects and landscape architects free up precious penthouse space that made a private roof top garden and an infinity pool possible. A series of steel trusses soldiering along the rooftop perimeter is supporting the 30’ curtain wall bypass above the 600’ tower structure. This curtain wall bypass provides architectural expression at the same time acting as a wind screen that provides occupancy comfort.

Beating Gravity

Not surprisingly, the step core creates uneven stress-strain due to gravity, and so its impact on the tower’s lateral movement was carefully studied. The podium slope roof structural system is long span structural steel to create wide open space for commercial use.

Project facts

Services: Structural Engineer
Collaborators: James K.M Cheng Architects Inc.
Cost: $130 Million
Size: 64,692 sq. m
Completed: 2008
Builder: Ledcor
LEED: Silver