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

Case Studies in Canadian Sustainable Design:
Image Gallery:



Green Roof:
Vancouver Public Library

Moshe Safdie and Associates +
Downs Archambault and Partners

Vancouver, British Columbia


About the building:

The new VPL opened in May 1996. It is located in downtown Vancouver at the intersection of Robson and Georgia Streets. PCL Constructors Pacific Limited were the general contractors for the project. The structure itself is a rectangle within an ellipse. The large tower is occupied by the provincial government, as well as the 8th and 9th floors (plus roof garden) of the lower library building. The library building is 35, 150 square meters. The main structure is concrete. The concrete was poured into precast concrete formwork which were ultimately left in place (unlike conventional wood or steel forms). The building colour is from granite quarried in Horsefly, B.C., and crushed granite was used in the making of the precast. Excavation began in 1993. It took 26 months to complete the porject. The cost of the library, retail, daycare and parkade:$106.8 million (Canadian); the cost of the Federal Tower: $50 million (Canadian).

Up on the roof with the educators tour as part of the CMHC Faculty Design Summit, June 2003.
Looking towards the edge of the roof. This roof has no public access at this point in time. There are no barriers to prevent a nine storey fall off of the edge of the roof.

The Federal Tower, part of the library complex, overlooks the roof. The roof was planned for its CO2 benefits as well as a pleasant view from adjacent taller buildings.
View from the roof towards BC Place.

One floor down from part of the roof are situated terraces that are accessible from the floor below..
View over the edge of the roof to terrace below.
A skylight runs down the centre of the roof ligting the space below (at right).
Skylit space below green roof (at the time of this photo, undergoing an occupancy change/renovation).

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 August 27, 2005