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Star architect proposes Jenga-style skyscraper for downtown Vancouver

WATCH: A new addition to downtown Vancouver is proposed by yet another international superstar architect who wants to make his mark on the city.

Renowned German architect Ole Scheeren has big plans for a new skyscraper that will drastically change the city’s skyline.

The 48-storey building on the 1500-block of West Georgia will feature a Jenga-like design with large blocks protruding horizontally from the tower.

“I wanted to conceive of a tower that would address the city, open up to the city and really engage the space of the city,” Scheeren said.

“Instead of siloing people in these extrusions, I basically took portions of the tower and folded them open horizontally, project them out into the space of the city and towards the landscape and with that find a very different way of engaging space.”

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An artist's rendering of a proposed skyscraper on West Georgia. Buro Ole Scheeren
An artist's rendering of a proposed skyscraper on West Georgia. Buro Ole Scheeren
An artist's rendering of a proposed skyscraper on West Georgia. Buro Ole Scheeren
An artist's rendering of a proposed skyscraper on West Georgia. Buro Ole Scheeren

Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties bought the entire city block last year. Scheeren was hired after a global search and designed his “future vision for vertical living.”

But is Vancouver ready for a shift from the ubiquitous glass towers that dominate the skyline? Local architect Michael Geller says yes.

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“I think some people will say, you know in a funny sort of way it reminds me of Habitat 67–the idea of gardens in the sky,” he said. “Other people will like it because it will remind them of the West Coast Transmission Building, which seemed to defy gravity by being suspended up in the air. There’s no doubt that this will be an expensive building to construct but I think most people will respond very positively to it.”

“I believe Vancouver is a great city to live in, so it’s really an attempt to give the city a piece of architecture that takes account of all of its qualities,” Scheeren said.

The project still needs approval before any plans to build get underway.

-with files from Jill Bennett