The Red Petal Pavilion

A shimmering red-hued petal-shaped retail pavilion is readying to open on Great Northern Way in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The $2.9 million 2,000 square-foot commercial space – comprised of 10 overlapping 30-foot tall curved petals that cascade from a rooftop oculus down to street level – is situated in a plaza outside a new office building and adjacent to the Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

Clad in a total of 7,300 square feet of ALUCOBOND PLUS aluminum composite material (ACM) by 3A Composites USA in 4mm Custom Rosy Starburst from the Spectra Collection of color-shifting finishes, the pavilion has been dubbed “The Red Petal” and “The Red Pavilion” by local media.

The retail pavilion’s unique design – envisioned by the Vancouver studio of Perkins and Will Canada Inc. – fulfills the overriding goal of owner-partners PCI Development Corp. and Low Tide Properties Ltd., both based in Vancouver, to be a landmark in the city.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

“It is a visible attractor to the community,” says Yehia Madkour, Architect AIBC, director of innovation, Perkins and Will, who said the owners wanted to provide a gathering place for university students as well as employees of media companies that have opened offices in this former industrial area that recently has been transformed into a “hub for creativity” in the city. The retail pavilion’s first tenant will be a Nemesis Coffee shop.

“We wanted to create an expressive structure and were inspired by flowers,” says Madkour. “Flowers attract bees. We wanted to cause people to pause and stop. This pavilion is designed to get people inside. We looked at how flowers grow and how their petals overlap. We went through many iterations of this design to arrive at its final shape.”

PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

Targeted to achieve LEED Gold certification, Perkins and Will chose to construct the pavilion with environmentally friendly materials, including formed timber, steel and ALUCOBOND PLUS ACM. Recyclable ALUCOBOND PLUS – which is manufactured with both post-manufacturing and post-consumer content – contributes LEED credits to building projects.

With the flower petal design agreed upon, building owners became involved in selecting the pavilion’s color scheme.

“We explored white, gray and silver,” says Madkour. “Then we explored yellow and red, which we knew would create a visible landmark in the city. The ALUCOBOND PLUS in color-shifting Spectra helped to define the pavilion’s curvilinear lines and offered depth within the shingles. We tried many color variations and reviewed many ALUCOBOND PLUS color samples before deciding on this custom red.”

PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

Perkins and Will designed the retail pavilion with Rhino Grasshopper and Autodesk Revit modeling software. To prove the complex design’s structural engineering was achievable, Madkour traveled to the Autodesk Technology Center at its BUILD Space in Boston to create a prototype of curved nail laminated timber (NLT). The firm then collaborated with Spearhead Inc. a manufacturing company located in Nelson, British Columbia, that specializes in the design and fabrication of architectural timber and steel, to refine the structural design and improve efficiencies before the pavilion was ready for construction.

The Ledcor Group of Companies, based in Vancouver, served as general contractor for the project. Keith Panel Systems Co. Ltd. (KPS), of North Vancouver, constructed a full-scale mockup to confirm that the company’s custom-developed panel system would be able to manage the complex geometry of the pavilion’s compound curves. The panel system consists of a series of overlapping ALUCOBOND PLUS tiles that follow the building’s curvilinear form at both roof and wall areas.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA
PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

KPS suggested ALUCOBOND PLUS to clad the pavilion rather than taking a traditional roofing approach that might employ a light-gauge single-skin sheet metal that could result in surface undulation and a less refined appearance.

“ALUCOBOND PLUS was a good choice because it remains flat and true without oil-canning,” says Carlo Gatti, business development manager, KPS. “ALUCOBOND PLUS also offers inherent flexibility to achieve curved shapes.”

KPS used Autodesk Revit modeling to determine the ideal size for the ALUCOBOND PLUS tiles required to clad the pavilion to be 8 inches tall by 16 inches wide.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Robert Stefanowicz Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

“We identified early on that tiling the ALUCOBOND PLUS in the right size tile was the most effective approach in handling the compound curve,” says Gatti. “We then used our knowledge of effective rainscreen design to develop a wall assembly that would allow for a ventilated air space behind the tiles while mitigating moisture intrusion with a continuous liner immediately behind the tiles. This rainscreen panel system was custom developed for this project and had never been done before.”

While Perkins and Will currently is working on interior design concepts for Nemesis Coffee, the “Red Petal Pavilion” continues to garner attention in the media and from the architectural community in the form of design awards, including earning the 2019 Metal Construction Association Chairman’s Award for Overall Excellence.

“Walkers and bikers stop by,” says Madkour. “I expected a love-hate relationship with this building; but we’ve only seen a lot of love People are excited about different architecture in the city. It’s gotten a very positive response.”

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