Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

Canada Place Pier, Expo 86
Vancouver, British Columbia

Zeidler Partnership
Toronto, Ontario

Project Information:
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.


Project Images:

View of the pier from adjacent Gastown.
At the left is the Pan Pacific Hotel and Conference facility. This pier is the docking port for many cruise ships that run up the Pacific Coast to Alaska.

View along dockside.
The roof over the facility is a steel supported fabric structure. The masts are custom concrete filled, hollow structural steel sections, tapered towards the top, that take the compressive forces exerted by the cables structure, to the main dock structure below.

Detailing is all nautical in nature. All of the handrails, guards, lighting standards and furnishings use HSS tubes and steel mesh.
Some of the diagonal bracing members cross over the pedestrian walkway to be secured to the structure below.
Detail of top connection at mast.
Each of the masts is connected to the next via horizontal cable ties for extra stability.
Base connection showing tension connectors.
Base connection. The heavy fabric has all of its edges and seams reinforced with steel cables and thin steel plates.
Base connection detail of the cables that fly over the pedestrian walkway on the east side of the pier.
View out to the mountains. The steel railing and lighting system undulates along the edge of the pier to allow for overlooks back towards the ships and dock edge.
The sun plays with shadows cast on the steps from the steel handrail system.
Holland America Cruise ship at dock.

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These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca

Updated September 25, 2005