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Vancouver House twisty tower not leaning or sinking despite rumours

A tower being constructed in Vancouver has some people worried it is leaning over – the developer says it is all good. Kristen Robinson has more on this architectural curiosity.

It’s been taking shape in downtown Vancouver for more than three years and once complete, the Vancouver House tower will be the fourth tallest building in the city.

The twisty tower at 1480 Howe St. is one of four buildings rising from the Vancouver House site.

According to the developer, its odd design was not an attempt at challenging gravity but rather adapting to the limits of the space at the north end of the Granville Street bridge.

“It really was a direct result of the constraints that were on the site,” said Westbank Corp. founder Ian Gillespie.

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“It’s a triangular site at the ground due to the bridge on-ramps and off-ramps, but to capture the sort of full density available for this site it’s a square building at the top,” added project engineer Micheál O’Keeffe.

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Designed to fit between the Howe and Seymour Street bridge ramps, Gillespie described the Vancouver House project as “the idea of creating a gateway from the Granville Street bridge into the downtown.”

The Danish architect behind the concept, Bjarke Ingels, has described Vancouver House as an upside-down highrise with a twist.

Construction on the 520-foot tower, which will house 375 condos, began in March 2015. As completion nears and the twists and slopes start to take shape, rumours have been swirling about whether the unique tower is leaning or sinking.

In a June 27 Facebook post that appears to have since been deleted, one person even suggested that construction has stalled due to an “error where each floor is an inch too short and is now no longer deemed to be earthquake safe.”

The accusations are simply false according to O’Keeffe. “We’ve heard a lot of those rumours,” said the senior engineer, who is a principal at Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers.

“The building is not sinking. The building actually, all through construction, the building has been continuously surveyed and monitored and to date, it’s behaving as predicted with the computer analysis that was done.”

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O’Keeffe told Global News that Vancouver House’s atypical tower has undergone a much more rigorous level of engineering than the average condo tower — and is structurally sound.

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The city of Vancouver also confirmed there are no issues with the construction.

“It’s definitely unusual and I think that might have thrown some people, the shape, but I mean that’s all part of the architectural expression of the building,” said O’Keeffe.

The Vancouver House tower floor was poured at the end of June and the building is set to be finished by April 2019.