Terri Meyer Boake B.E.S. B.Arch. M.Arch.
Associate Professor School of Architecture University of Waterloo

Image Gallery:


Canada Place Pier
Expo 86

Zeidler Partnership

Vancouver, British Columbia


About the building:

The pier that was constructed during Expo 86, designed by the Zeidler Parntership, was one of the key buildings to remain after the majority of the temporary structures were demolished at the end of Expo. It continues to be a hub of activity, supporting conferences, the Pan Pacific Hotel, and providing premier docking facilities for cruise ships. It is expected that the facilities will be further upgraded to support expansion for the 2010 Olympic Games.

The character of the architecture was in keeping with the transportation theme for Expo. Many of the buildings made use of tensile structures - and provide a good working vocabulary of the structural elements required for such. The Zeidler Partnership was also responsible for the design of the Ontario Pavilion for Expo 86. This building had a quite creative use of tensile structural elements and sails, but unfortunately, was one of the buildings that was taken down after the exhibition was finished.

View of the pier from Gastown.
View alongside eastern edge of pier with the Pan Pacific Hotel at the left.

Holland America Line docked at the Pier in June.
The use of white painted HSS railings maintains the nautical theme.

The key architectural feature of the building is the "sails" that form its profile against the sky.
The form of the sails is held by tension cables and compressive HSS masts that are anchored to the deck surrounding the building.
View up towards sails and masts.
Detail at the top of the HSS column/mast showing cable connections.
Base connection detail of fabric roof. Note that the cables are held securely at the edge of the "fabric" to stretch it and give it form.
Detail of cable connection at base that forms a direct connection with the top of the mast to keep it stable.
Base connection detail.
Connection detail at top of sail/mast. Each is connected to the the ones adjacent with horizontal cables to assist in stabilizing the structure.
A study of light and shadow formed by the railing pattern cast on the stairs.
HSS railings and overlooks along the edge of the pier.

The images on this site have been taken for use in my teaching. They may be copied for educational purposes. Please give credit. These images may not be reproduced commercially without written consent.

last updated March 8, 2008