Several factors influenced the design of the new Arc’teryx flagship store in Vancouver, but all led to the prominent use of zinc on the exterior. The retail chain, founded by local climbers in 1989, offers high-performance outdoor equipment and clothing. Custom titanium zinc panels, installed on a diagonal façade along with granite to symbolize the nearby mountain horizon, highlight the retailer’s largest Canadian store.
The building itself was previously two adjoining linear structures requiring major renovation to meet design objectives. Architectural and construction management services were provided by Unison Construction Management in Vancouver.
“We demolished a significant portion of the front of the building and reconstructed it to increase support for the façade height that was added,” said Ehsan Vali, Unison’s lead designer on the project. “It was a big challenge for our structural engineers. We had to bring the building up to code in all disciplines—it was quite complicated for what you would expect from a 372 m2 (4000 sf) building.”
Selection of zinc for the exterior was inspired by Arc’teryx itself, according to Vali.
“A lot of their products rely on metal components. They are very durable and require precision in their manufacturing,” Vali said. “I knew I wanted to use metal and zinc caught my attention early on. I discovered the nearby mountains contain significant deposits of both zinc and copper. I also came across different pictures of actual raw zinc and noticed the very linear, angular, clear lines with a bit of sheen. We quickly settled on titanium zinc as the right material to deliver the cool, modern esthetic to complement the brand.”
Approximately 186 m2 (2000 sf) of 610 x 1219 mm (24 x 48 in.) custom titanium zinc graphite-grey panels were fabricated and installed by Ace Copper Specialists, Surrey, British Columbia.
The mountain-inspired architectural design called for the panels to be installed on the diagonal as well as wrapped around a sharp 90 degree corner.
“To further complicate the job, the cap line at the roof was at a slightly different angle than the the shingles. We hand-fabricated the top shingles onsite. The designer did not want seams when we wrapped the panels around the corner. The installation had to be perfect to keep the angles all in place. The job was a challenge but turned out to be really striking,” explained Jason Dore, COO of Ace Copper Specialists.
Titanium zinc was also used on the interior as infill material for various racks and product display areas.