Vancouver’s stunning convention center doesn’t shy away from breaking records—not only is the building home to Canada’s largest green roof, but it also recently became the world’s first double LEED Platinum-certified convention center. Designed by LMN Architects, Vancouver Convention Centre West—possibly the world’s “greenest” convention center—is a spectacular example of eco-credentialed architecture that aims to restore the area’s ecology through beautiful and engaging design. It was first certified LEED Platinum for New Construction in 2010 and awarded LEED Platinum again this year for Operations + Maintenance.
Set on a former brownfield on the downtown waterfront, Vancouver Convention Centre West is more than just a meeting space. The building, which offers one million square feet of convention space stretched across land and water, is woven into the urban fabric with a waterfront promenade that integrates walkways, bikeways, public plazas, and mixed-use space for restaurants, retail, and public art.
“The architectural approach creates a community experience that is simultaneously a building, an urban plaza, a park, and an ecosystem,” wrote the architects. “The convention center program emphasizes spaces for both public and private events, gatherings, and circulation, mixing the energy of convention visitors with the life of the city. The building’s landforms fold in specific ways to embrace the downtown street grid and preserve view corridors out to the water. The entire perimeter enclosure is an ultra-clear glass system, visually reinforcing the integration of urban and waterfront context into the user experience of the building.”
One of the convention center’s most eye-catching elements is its iconic green roof, visible from throughout the city. Designed by PWL Partnership Landscape Architects, the living roof covers six acres and is home to approximately 400,000 native plants and 240,000 bees that provide honey to the convention center restaurant. The undulating roof mimics the surrounding topography and North Shore Mountains and also helps to set up natural drainage. Marine habitat is also encouraged through the custom-designed marine habitat skirt built around the piles that support the building.
A high-efficiency seawater pump powered by renewable hydro-electricity provides heating and cooling, leading to a reduction of energy use of 60% over typical convention centers. Potable water use has also been reduced by 70% thanks to a water conservation and reuse system, and an on-site blackwater treatment plant that filters and recycles all wastewater for use as irrigation and non-potable purposes.
Images by Nic Lehoux