60 West Cordova
60 West Cordova in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is a prototype for inclusive development in one of the world’s most expensive housing markets. It has 12 units of non-market housing and 96 affordable units for owner-occupiers who participate in building maintenance and management.
The project—an initiative by Henriquez Partners Architects, Westbank, the Portland Hotel Society, Habitat for Humanity, and Vancity Credit Union—pioneers car-free housing in Vancouver. There are 18 parking stalls, two of which are reserved for car-share vehicles. This helps keep housing costs down, while promoting both efficient land use and alternative transportation. Bicycle storage is provided, and there are rooftop gardens and retail spaces that contribute to the revitalization of the area.
The ten-storey building’s design is inspired by the heritage context of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, but draws from a modern architectural vocabulary. The façade features a dominant rhythm of vertical columns and a storefront pattern that blends into the surrounding streetscape. This creates a level of surface texture and detail that is comparable to the heritage context without replicating it.
The façade of the building also features a public art component: glass panels depict silhouettes of people supporting people and, in-turn, supporting the building. Illuminated by LED lighting that is powered by solar panels on the roof, the spandrels glow in the evening. The art is a gesture to the community—people are helping people achieve remarkable things in the Downtown Eastside.
Status: Completed in 2012
Size: 81,000 square feet