Sprawling Vancouver mixed use development creates a new municipal town centre

A 1950s mall is being turned into a 464,515 m2 (5 million sf) mixed-use project, Oakridge Park, aiming to become a new cultural and civic hub in Vancouver. The scale of the development has prompted the city to classify Oakridge as a municipal town centre (the first outside downtown) and introduce a new area plan for the entire neighbourhood.

Designed by Henriquez Architects Partners for the real estate developer Westbank, as a complete community, Oakridge includes a complex mix of new residential, retail, office, public realm, civic, and cultural elements. Over 3,300 new homes will be offered. New workspace is projected to allow for 5,300 full-time jobs and introduce new services. An array of civic amenities will support cultural and social sustainability including a 9569 m2 (103,000 sf) civic centre with a community centre, library (one of the largest in Vancouver), daycare, performance and cultural spaces, and a seniors’ centre. More than 111,484 m2 (1.2 million sf) of retail will be introduced.

When originally built, the existing mall replaced a forest park within the city. Oakridge will bring back this lost piece of nature with the creation of another significant civic amenity—a 3.64-ha (9-acre) public park to include playgrounds, playing fields, a woodland, community garden, concert stages, yoga platforms and a running loop. This new greenspace–set over the roof of the retail portion of the development in an undulating natural landscape–is central to the architectural expression of Oakridge. The result will be a modern street-oriented urban experience, incorporating nature and topography to create an organic expression of architecture emerging from the landscape. The landscape architect for the project is PFS Studio

The site sits on a rapid transit stop at the intersection of two major crosstown transportation corridors, connecting this new community to the city’s downtown, the airport and Metro Vancouver. Energy use throughout the development will be sustainable, delivered via an innovative district energy system and on-site energy plant that will reduce carbon emissions by over 70 per cent.

The project has won multiple awards this year, including Grands Prix du Design Awards, Grand Prix Winner: Architecture, 2022; Grands Prix du Design Awards, Gold Certification: Architecture + Landscape, and Commercial Building / Mixed-Use Building, 2022; and Architecture MasterPrize, Honourable Mention – Mixed Use Architecture, 2022

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