Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project

Vancouver, British Columbia | 2003-2010
seawall bikeway

This premier waterfront site presented an opportunity to connect over half a kilometer of seawall around the perimeter of the Vancouver Convention Centre to the downtown core. With two acres/0.8 hectares of plaza and gathering space, our vision for this site was to create a lush living room for the city. We wanted this to be a place to meet friends, bring visiting relatives and celebrate the active, outdoorsy community at the heart of Vancouver’s identity.

Vancouver Convention Centre bike path
Vancouver's Seawall
Vancouver's seawall bikeway/walkway extends around the Convention Centre; the landscape architects used paving patterns and furnishings as wayfinding devices and unifying elements.

The original Convention Centre and the new expansion featured strikingly different architecture and a twelve-metre grade variance. The connection needed to be seamless and respond to the natural ecology, the urban park, and the plaza. Working with the building’s architects, we created a grand staircase with a fully accessible ramp between the existing Harbour Green Park and the plaza twelve metres above. The design sculpts these spaces so that this massive site feels approachable and intimate. 

Vancouver Convention Centre green roof
PWL Partnership collaborated with the consultant team to solve several design and engineering challenges to help achieve LEED® Gold certification for this striking and ecologically responsible project.

This project also took our design work to new heights. We recognized that this was going to be an expansive building and that the roof needed to be part of the story. We saw it as a blank canvas to respond to the surrounding North Shore Mountains and neighbouring forest. We designed a six-acre/2.4-hectare living roof—the largest in Canada—and incorporated LEED® initiatives throughout the open space design. Our vision was to create a place to learn about urban ecology, and see how sustainability can make a difference. The roof moderates heat in the building, improves urban air quality, cleanses and reduces rainwater runoff, and creates valuable habitat. This new habitat became a self-maintaining, self-regenerating living roof with flushes of grasses and wildflowers appearing 12 storeys above Coal Harbour. Today, entomologists from UBC are using the roof to study insects and learn how living roofs contribute to biodiversity in urban environments. 


Convention Centre
Convention Centre
Amazing views
Residents and tourists alike enjoy the views and summer sun from the viewing deck at the north end of the plaza.

We are proud to say that this project is the first double LEED® Platinum convention centre in the world and has created a unique urban ecology absent from the downtown area for over 150 years. 



CaGBC Leadership Award for Existing Building

AIA Institute Honour Award for Architecture 

World Architecture News Effectiveness Award 

AIA/COTE Top 10 Green Projects Award 

Design Exchange Awards Gold 

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence 
CSLA National Merit Award 


LEED® Platinum for New Construction
LEED® Platinum for Existing Buildings

ParkLane Homes
WesGroup Income Properties 
Polygon Homes
City of Vancouver
Duany Plater - Zyberk
James KM Cheng Architects
Don Wuori Design
Pivotal Lighting Design
Hughes Condon Marler Architects
InterCAD Services
Kim Stephens
GL Williams and Associates
Envirowest Consultants
Patrick Mooney
Holland Barrs Planning Group 
Moffat and Nichol
Bunt and Associates Engineering
Geopacific Consultants
Hughes Condon Marler Architects
Raymond Letkeman Architects
Halkier & Associates Architects
Dialog Architects
IBI Group
GBL Architects
Yamamoto Architects