Exoskeleton suggested to earthquake-proof and glam up Vancouver rental tower

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      A Vancouver rental building is proposed to be outfitted with steel frames formed as external skeletons.

      The exoskeleton will play a role in the seismic upgrade and renovation of the 11-storey tower at 2001 Beach Avenue.

      The steel framing is suggested to strengthen as well as beautify the West End building that is considered to be vulnerable to earthquake.

      A development application to the City of Vancouver has been submitted for the property’s owner by Stuart Howard Architects Inc.

      Part of the renovation is the introduction of “several new glazing openings as well as increasing the opening sizes of existing openings”.

      “This, combined with the existing poor seismic capacity of the extant building structure necessitates the introduction [of] structural intervention,” the architectural firm’s principal, W. Neil Robertson, wrote in the project’s design rationale.

      “To this end, we are proposing to introduce an exterior structural exoskeleton on the southeast and northeast of the building,” Robertson continued.

      In another portion of the document, the architect wrote that the “design of the aforementioned exoskeleton was treated as an opportunity to referentially enhance the neighbourhood in regards to proximities and history”.

      Moving on, the “building’s juxtaposition to English Bay is expressed through the form of the structural reinforcement”.

      “We intended the form to be a vertical expression of water while whimsically invoking design motifs contemporary with the original date of construction,” Robertson wrote.

      The tower was built before 1974, and is “non-conforming” to current earthquake standards.

      The renovation includes interior alterations, like the conversion of an upper parkade to three dwelling units.

      Three underground parking levels are also planned to be added.

      Exterior alterations will be made to the concrete tower, which Robertson described as having a “somewhat brutalism façade”.