Located in the 100 block of West Hastings in Vancouver, the Woodward’s Redevelopment involves a mix of 536 market and 200 non-market housing units, anchor food and drugstore, retail, urban green space, a public plaza, federal and civic offices, a daycare, and a new addition to the Simon Fraser University downtown campus: the School for Contemporary Arts. The oldest part of the existing complex was restored as nonprofit community space.
Considered to be one of the largest mixed-use projects in the history of Vancouver, Woodward’s multifaceted program demonstrates the many elements necessary for a healthy, liveable neighbourhood. Constructed in 1903, the now-demolished Woodward’s was once a premiere shopping destination and the “W” sign atop the building a distinctive landmark on the Vancouver skyline. Henriquez Partners Architects assembled a project team, including developer Westbank Projects/Peterson Investment Group and community advisor PHS Community Services. Collaborating in a lengthy two-stage competition, Henriquez Partners Architects was awarded the project in September of 2004. Consultation with community groups throughout the design process established maintenance of the project’s financial feasibility while meeting the neighbourhood’s unique social needs. Henriquez Partners Architects expanded the mandate of the architect and orchestrated public and private sector resources to recognize the needs of all stakeholders.
To contribute meaningfully to the preservation of Woodward’s history and the neighbourhood’s heritage character, the project integrates fragments of the existing 1908 building. Planted exterior façades and roofs give poetic expression to the project’s commitment to sustainability on a large urban scale. The original “W” sign, removed before demolition, now sits in a glass case in the public plaza. A new LED-lit “W” has taken its place in the Vancouver skyline, where it once again announces the presence of a vital neighbourhood.
Status: Completed in 2010
Size: 1,200,000 square feet
Read the Urban Land Institute’s detailed case study on the Woodward’s Redevelopment.
Pick up a copy of Body Heat, edited by acclaimed art critic Robert Enright and featuring 23 interviews with the key people who helped transform Woodward’s into a one-million-square-foot multiuse complex.