Multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Buro Happold is providing structural engineering services for the Beach and Howe mixed-use tower in Vancouver, Canada; Buro Happold is the design engineer, working in collaboration with renowned local engineer, Glotman Simpson.
The structure meets the challenge of stabilising a tall building whose mass is at its top – and making it safe in a high seismic zone. Designed by the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the 49-storey building combines 653,890ft² of residential, retail and commercial space in an urban complex at the entrance to the Granville Street Bridge.
Typically, the mass of a building is at its base. In response to the constricted urban site, the mass of the Beach and Howe tower is inverted. The tower’s small triangular base curves away from the bridge to allow light and air to enter lower apartments. As it rises, the building’s shape transforms into larger, rectangular floorplates that culminate in a square top. The designers describe the tower’s shape “as a curtain being drawn aside, welcoming people as they enter the city from the bridge.”
Buro Happold designed a concrete core with post-tensioned walls, which can protect against damage in case of an earthquake and also improve performance. This creative solution meets the tower’s structural and seismic requirements.
“BIG is known for its daring approach to design, and we are delighted to collaborate with them and the rest of the team on this project,” explained structural engineer Erleen Hatfield, who is partner-in-charge of the project for Buro Happold. “We’re using state-of-the-art technology and performance-based design to overcome the major challenges of the tower and the site. Using our three-dimensional model of the building, we can ensure that the structural integrity of the building is in sync with the design intent.”