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Color-Changing Green-Hued Alucobond Spectra Reflects Sustainable Design Of New Mixed-Use Community

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

Project Name: Marine Gateway
Project Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Alucobond Materials: Alucobond PLUS Bone White, Steel City Silver, Anodic Clear Mica, Custom Ridgedale Silver, Custom Yellow Flash, Red Fire, Custom Mustard Yellow, Custom French Burgundy, CIBC Red, Montreal Blue, Focus Black, Custom Spectra Lime Zest, Custom Spectra Mossy Forest, Custom Spectra Rainforest, Custom Spectra Springtime
Developer: PCI Developments Corp.
Architect: Perkins+Will, Vancouver, British Columbia
Fabricator/Installer: Keith Panel Systems Co. Ltd.
General Contractor: Ledcor Construction, Inc.
Images: Photos © Mark Kempf

The Marine Gateway mixed-use development officially opened this spring in south Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as the first major transit-oriented development integrated into Vancouver’s Canada Line rapid transit rail system. It’s also served by the South Vancouver Bus Loop.

Designed to achieve the principles of smart growth – which places a priority on sustainable, mixed-use communities designed to enhance quality of life – Marine Gateway was developed by PCI Developments Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, on a one-block former industrial site that is now a new urban town center.

“PCI’s goal for Marine Gateway was to transform a vacant and underutilized four-plus acre industrial lot into a vibrant, transit-oriented mixed-use town center that combines retail, entertainment, office, residential and transit onsite,” said Andrew Grant, president, PCI Developments Corp. “PCI saw the opportunity to directly integrate with rapid and bus transit, allowing residents, workers, shoppers and visitors to live, work, shop, play and commute all in one location.”

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

The $372-million 820,000 square-foot Marine Gateway development features two residential towers – one 25-story 140,000-square-foot tower and one 35- story 195,000-square-foot tower – that offer a combined total of 461 market condos and rental apartments. Additionally, the development is home to a 14-story 250,000 square-foot office building and 225,000 square feet of retail space, including a three-story retail podium. Shopping and entertainment/recreation amenities include an 11-screen movie theater, a major fitness center, a supermarket and a strikingly landscaped public area dubbed “High Street” that is lined with retail stores and restaurants. Five stories of underground parking also are featured.

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, Marine Gateway features more than 200,000 square feet of recyclable 4mm Alucobond® Plus aluminum composite material (ACM) by 3A Composites USA installed as both exterior building cladding and storefront shoppers and as interior wall accents and trim. Recyclable Alucobond – which is manufactured with both post-manufacturing and post-consumer content – contributes LEED credits to building projects.

Alucobond Plus colors selected for the development include: 95,000 square feet of Bone White, 41,000 square of Steel City Silver, 15,000 square feet of Anodic Clear Mica, 6,000 square feet of Custom Ridgedale Silver, 4,000 square feet of Custom Yellow Flash, 3,200 square feet of Red Fire, 2,400 square feet of Custom Mustard Yellow, 1,600 square feet of Custom French Burgundy, 780 square feet of CIBC Red, 255 square feet of Montreal Blue, and 250 square feet of Focus Black.

(Alucobond consists of two sheets of 0.020” aluminum thermobonded to a plastic core. Alucobond provides extraordinary flatness and rigidity, excellent formability, low weight and outstanding weather resistance. Alucobond aluminum-faced panels are manufactured with a polyethylene core in a standard 4mm thickness. Alucobond Plus wall panels have a flame-spread index of less than 25 and a smoke-developed index of less than 450 when tested in accordance with ASTM E 84, and have a Class A interior finish classification.)

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

Additionally, four custom shades of green Alucobond Plus in the Spectra color finishing system were selected as part of a unique cladding design – in combination with Alucobond Plus in the Bone White, Clear Anodic Mica and Steel City Silver colors – for the two Marine Gateway residential towers. The custom colors include 10,000 square feet each of Alucobond Spectra Lime Zest, Alucobond Spectra Mossy Forest, Alucobond Spectra Rainforest and Alucobond Spectra Springtime.

The Alucobond Spectra Colors finishing system was introduced by 3A Composites USA to allow architects to incorporate a unique, ever-changing color spectrum in building cladding. Alucobond Spectra panels change colors as different wavelengths of light are reflected back to the audience, depending upon the viewing angle.

PCI Developments worked with architects at the Vancouver, British Columbia, office of Perkins+Will to design Marine Gateway.

“We wanted to ensure the public realm and architectural elements were well-designed and visually interesting, with a variety of materials, textures and color,” said Grant. “In particular, the distinct use of color on the high-profile residential towers, the retail High Street and within the residential lobbies has created a colorful, dynamic and identifiable ‘Marine Gateway’ look that is warm and inviting.”

Marine Gateway’s “modernist” architectural design incorporates a variety of materials, according to Ryan Bragg, Architect AIBC, MAA, MRAIC, LEED AP BD+C, principal, Perkins+Will Canada.

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

The pedestrian High Street distinguishes itself from other retail/entertainment districts, according to Bragg, with its attention to architectural detail, vibrant colors and quality materials, including Alucobond Plus panels, wood, brick and terra cotta within steel frames. The office tower is designed with a more restrained articulated curtainwall and Custom Ridgedale Silver Alucobond Plus panels, while the residential towers feature a unique subtly changing color palette achieved with Alucobond Spectra cladding.

“We wanted a simple, calm palette for the residential towers,” said Bragg. “While we originally thought about incorporating painted glass panels, that material was not cost-effective. We did, however, want a fresh feel for the towers and a material that would change in appearance throughout the day. So, we looked at Alucobond Spectra.”

Perkins+Will worked closely with Alucobond fabricator/installer Keith Panel Systems Co. Ltd. (KPS), of North Vancouver, British Columbia, and 3A Composites USA to create a complimentary palette of four custom green-hued Alucobond Spectra colors that could be installed in two different directions. Bragg estimates that at least three dozen Alucobond Spectra custom color samples were reviewed to create the final palette.

“We wanted to create a fresh look with rather timely colors,” said Bragg. “We knew that the Spectra would change in a subtle way while providing contrast with the bone white Alucobond panels. We always thought that the Spectra would appear to change more from a distance rather than close up. But, within residents’ units, you can catch the change. …The Spectra is a very interesting material. It’s been very successful in capturing the look we were trying to achieve.”

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

(In addition to exterior cladding, Alucobond in the custom Spectra Lime Zest color was uniquely installed as accent wall fascia illuminated with LED lights in residential lobbies. Residents’ mailbox and entry buzzer areas are highlighted with Alucobond Plus accents in Red Fire and Focus Black.)

The Marine Gateway residential towers are designed with 50 percent Alucobond cladding and 50 percent glazing, while typical high-rise residential buildings in Vancouver feature 80 percent to 90 percent glazing, according to Bragg, of the window-wall designs used throughout Vancouver.

“The Marine Gateway towers are designed with a much more solid wall, which speaks to the buildings’ sustainability and changing codes,” said Bragg. “These are high-performance buildings featuring solid walls and well-placed windows. … Window walls don’t perform as well. We wanted to better insulate the Marine Gateway towers while capturing different views and capitalizing on the changing Spectra colors.”

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

This solid-wall high-performance building design fits well within the City of Vancouver’s goal to be the greenest city in the world by 2020. And, the entire development is a leading example of growth encouraged by the City of Vancouver’s Economic Action Plan, which is designed to help Vancouver grow sustainably with communities, jobs and families in mind.

Marine Gateway sets a standard for sustainable development associated with mass transit and includes a district energy system, an extensive water resource management plan, high-performance building envelope and shading strategies while incorporating two transit stations, according to a Perkins+Will statement.
The solid-wall design with color-changing Alucobond Spectra panels also contributes to Marine Gateway’s distinctive personality, according to Bragg.

“As we increase the solidity and opacity of the residence towers, they take on a lot more character,” said Bragg. “They’re not just glazed towers, which makes them interesting in respect to other residence towers within the City of Vancouver. The Marine Gateway towers provide a unique identity for the project.”

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf
KPS served in a design-assist role, joining the team in 2011. Ledcor Construction, Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, served as general contractor.

KPS recommended the color-changing Alucobond Spectra panels for the Marine Gateway residential tower as a cost-effective yet striking cladding option.

“Spectra provides the illusion of back-painted glass but is an affordable alternative,” according to Garry Wong, KPS director of operations, who estimated that the selection of Alucobond Spectra over glass resulted in a savings of nearly $1.4 million.

That cladding savings not only helped the project to remain on budget but allowed designers to incorporate “an overall better quality of materials” in the development, according to Bragg.

“We’ve worked with Alucobond for more than 30 years,” said Wong. “It performed well on every level on this project – just as we’ve come to expect. We’re getting a lot of interest in Spectra from this project.”

Marine, Gateway, Perkins, Will, Architects, Vancouver, British, Columbia, Alucobond, aluminum, composite, Material, Mark, Kempf, Photography
©Mark Kempf

KPS began fabricating the Alucobond panels during the summer of 2014 in a progressive process that coincided with installation, which was completed in 16 months. The greatest challenge KPS faced during Alucobond installation was in accessing the construction site, according to Wong.

“This was a very tight site, and we had to install interfaces on the windows and balconies,” said Wong. “The towers were built adjacent to the rapid transit line, so we had to be careful not to drop any debris that could fall onto the train tracks. That could have shut down the train. We laid down netting to catch any tools that might fall.”

Marine Gateway holds the distinction of being one of the fastest-selling condo projects in Vancouver’s history, according to PCI Developments.

“The towers stand out – looking sleek but colorful and warm – and provide a subtle but refreshing pop of color to the city landscape,” said Grant. “The color change makes it visually interesting and dynamic throughout the day; and, the green remains highly relevant to Marine Gateway as a transit-oriented, mixed-use community. … The Alucobond panels supported differentiation and efficient energy usage with increased cladding as opposed to the predominantly glass towers that have dominated Vancouver’s architecture. The result is a sustainable and architecturally significant and distinct development due, in part, to Alucobond cladding.”

photography courtesy of © Mark Kempf

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