Vancouver developer plans world's tallest Passive towers
October 11, 2017
Kevin Cheung, CEO of Landa Global Partners, “We want to be at the cutting-edge.”
A China-linked Vancouver developer is planning to build the tallest Passive House buildings in the world: two high-rise condominium towers of 43 storeys and 48 storeys in downtown Vancouver.
Passive House, developed in Germany by the Passive House Institute, requires a rigorous building standard that significantly improves energy efficiency, with up to a 90 per cent reduction in energy use. Theoretically, the standard can be applied to any building type, but in Canada it has so far been restricted to detached houses and low-rise buildings.
The tallest Passive House in the world is currently a 31-storey high-rise residential building in Bilbao, Spain.
Landa Global Partners and Hong Kong-based Asia Standard America have submitted a rezoning application for the Vancouver project and it appears the bid has the backing of the city’s planning department.
Kevin Cheung, CEO of Landa Global Partners, said the towers would be the first Passive Houses the company has ever built, though it is currently completing three traditional condo towers in Metro Vancouver, and is an active developer in Shanghai, China.
“There are challenges in this new territory,” Cheung said, as it relates to building a high-rise to airtight Passive standards. But Cheung said the towers–designed by New York-based Robert A.M. Stern Architects with Vancouver’s MCM Partnership–uniquely fit Vancouver, which is aiming to have all new buildings produce zero emissions by 2030 as it vies to become the greenest city on the planet.
Cheung said some building materials, including high-performance windows and special insulation, would initially have to be imported from Europe and that local construction workers would likely require training in Passive House tower building techniques. “There will some extra costs involved,” he said.
“These types of buildings are the future and we want to be at the cutting edge of that shift,” Cheung said. “While they are more complicated to build, we are looking forward to being pioneers and creating prototypes for a lot of equipment that doesn’t yet exist. We believe we can be leaders in zero- emission building development and design and pave the way for other projects like this in future.”
Landa’s rezoning application appears to be on a fast track, however, based on the city’s reaction to its Passive House proposal.
“The city is excited to see industry leaders like Landa Global Properties and Asia Standard take on such an innovative project,” said Gil Kelley, general manager of planning, urban design and sustainability for the City of Vancouver. “There will be tremendous value for the trades, manufacturers, designers, builders, and developers to learn and find innovative solutions to see these towers built to the Passive House standard. We hope to have all new buildings produce zero carbon pollution by 2030, and this project will help us realize that goal.”
Cheung expects to receive rezoning and other city approvals within 18 months, and for the world’s tallest Passive House condo towers to open in 2022.