2019 was “the year of demolition and excavation” for the former Vancouver Masonic Centre building, at Granville Street and 8th Avenue in Vancouver. And now, “2020 is the year of concrete”, describes Project Architect David Guenter. “It’s an exciting year in which the leveled site is witnessing the growth of a 19 storey tower rising to full stature as a concrete skeleton.”
Perhaps the most compelling insights into architecture and construction that this “year of concrete” reveals are those that arise out of Concrete’s role as Structure and/or Envelope. Concrete is commonly understood as a structural element—and is rightly called the “skeleton” of many buildings—but there are moments when this skeleton is also exposed as skin: as a finished surface that characterizes the identity and complexion of the building within the urban context.
A distinguishing feature of the Vancouver Masonic Centre is its exposed concrete stair core on the west side of the Tower, which is certain to be a hallmark of its identity from the view of Granville Street. The skin of this concrete core has been stamped with horizontal lines that create something of a measuring stick for the height of the building, based on the Freemason’s interest in measurement, proportion and geometry.
If you have the opportunity to pass by Granville St and 8th Ave throughout 2020, you’ll have a tangible yardstick of the building’s progress during this “year of concrete” as construction advances throughout the year.