New York, N.Y. – Multi-disciplinary engineering firm Buro Happold announced that it is providing structural engineering services for the Beach and Howe mixed-use tower in Vancouver; Buro Happold is design engineer, working in collaboration with local engineer of record, Glotman Simpson. The structure meets the challenge of stabilizing a tall building whose mass is at its top – and making it safe in a high seismic zone. The 49-story building, designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, combines 653,890-sq.-ft. of residential, retail, and commercial space in an urban complex at the entrance to the Granville Street Bridge.

Typically, the mass of a building is at its base. In response to the constricted urban site, the mass of the Beach and Howe tower is inverted. The tower’s small triangular base curves away from the bridge to allow light and air to enter lower apartments. As it rises, the building’s shape transforms into larger, rectangular floorplates that culminate in a square top. The designers describe the tower’s shape “as a curtain being drawn aside, welcoming people as they enter the city from the bridge.”

Buro Happold designed a concrete core with post-tensioned walls, which can protect against damage in case of an earthquake and also improve performance. This creative solution meets the tower’s structural and seismic requirements.

“BIG is known for its daring approach to design, and we are delighted to collaborate with them and the rest of the team on this project,” explained structural engineer Erleen Hatfield, who is partner-in-charge of the project for Buro Happold. “We’re using state-of-the-art technology and performance-based design to overcome the major challenges of the tower and the site. Using our three-dimensional model of the building, we can ensure that the structural integrity of the building is in sync with the design intent.”