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Friday, March 1, 2024

The Butterfly Westbank takes flight in Vancouver

The Butterfly by Westbank may be the most beautiful residential tower in downtown Vancouver to date.

The project — scheduled for completion in 2023 — includes a 57-storey luxury condominium tower, and the heritage restoration, seismic upgrading and expansion of one of Vancouver’s most historic places of worship, the First Baptist Church, built in 1911. 

The Butterfly consists of:

  • a new 37-space daycare facility
  • new administrative offices for the First Baptist church
  • a seven-storey social housing building with 61 units

The Community Amenity Contributions (CAC) for the project were one of the city’s largest at the time of its approval, valued at $91.3-million.

The design of the tower, by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects), is inspired by organ pipes and the “ephemeral nature” of clouds. The fa├žade consists of an assembly of white, concrete precast panels, and the interior of the panels — which are visible in the suites — have a toned terrazzo finish. 

The Butterfly Westbank exterior renderings

The Butterfly Westbank exterior
The Butterfly by Westbank exterior, looking towards West End and English Bay. Credit: Hayes Davidson
The Butterfly Westbank exterior
The Butterfly by Westbank tower exterior, as viewed from Wall Centre. Credit: Hayes Davidson
The Butterfly Westbank rooftop rendering
Rooftop view of The Butterfly. Credit: Hayes Davidson
Building program
Building program showing rental component, childcare facility and relationship to adjacent developments. Credit: Revery Architecture
Exterior of The Butterfly
The exterior of the building will consist of scalloped, precast concrete panels, providing exceptional thermal resistance, and enhanced acoustic performance. Credit: Hayes Davidson

The architects wanted to ensure they facilitated a sense of community in the building and encouraged interactions between residents. Each floor includes a shared outdoor garden space to spark informal meetups, and help break down some of the social barriers commonly associated with high-rise living.

These outdoor breezeways also offer environmental benefits, improving sustainability through natural daylighting, ventilation and cooling.

The Butterfly Westbank common areas
Common area outside homes, designed to encourage social interactions. Credit: Hayes Davidson
Hallway with large window
The hallways and lobbies open up to spectacular views and showcase landscaping on the building’s exterior. Credit: Hayes Davidson

Unit interiors at The Butterfly are strategically designed to showcase the spectacular views, achieved through pure white colour schemes and reflective surfaces, designed to dissolve borders and encourage a sense of being unbounded, “much like a Butterfly.”

Second bedrooms are fully enclosed with glazed partitions that offer acoustic separation and visual privacy with soft, fabric curtains.

The bathrooms are dramatic, with floor-to-ceiling marble and natural wood accents.

The Butterfly Westbank unit interiors

Suite interior
Suite interior. Credit: Hayes Davidson
Bedroom view looking towards English Bay
Bedroom view looking towards English Bay. Credit: Hayes Davidson
Glass bottom pool
The penthouse residences feature glass bottom pools. Credit: Hayes Davidson
Marble clad bathroom
Bathrooms are marble clad with wood accents. Credit: Hayes Davidson
Suite interior
Suite interior. Credit: Hayes Davidson

Indoor pool showcases views of historic church

Amenities include a 50-metre, Olympic-sized, glass roof swimming pool, built on the third floor of the tower and strategically positioned to take advantage of natural shading on the north side of the property.

The pool is surrounded by modular, prefabricated structural ribs that are designed to maximize spans, while concealing mechanical and sprinkler services for air supply, condensation control and fire protection. It also showcases stunning views of the restored First Baptist Church.

Indoor pool
The spectacular indoor pool. Credit: Hayes Davidson
View from pool looking towards revitalized church
View from pool looking towards revitalized church. Credit: Hayes Davidson

New standards of sustainability 

The project sets new standards for sustainability in downtown Vancouver condo towers. The development is designed to meet a minimum LEED Gold certification, and exceeds standards for energy performance with greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to a 45 per cent reduction in energy use and a 22 per cent reduction in energy costs. 

Diagram of airflow
Diagram of airflow. Credit: Revery Architecture

Video: The ingredients of The Butterfly

Currently under construction, the entirety of the project is targeting completion in Fall 2023, and is located at Burrard and Nelson streets in downtown Vancouver.

Construction site as of November 2020
Construction site as of November 2020.
Project branding on Nelson Street
Project branding on Nelson Street.
Construction site as of November 2020
Construction site as of November 2020.

For more information, visit the project page on the developer’s website.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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