Completed in 2021, the Gastown Child Care Centre is an innovative response to a concept proposed by the City of Vancouver to develop childcare centres atop under-utilized parkades in the downtown core. To support Vancouver’s Greenest City goals, the project is designed to Passive House and LEED Gold standards, with a focus on net zero energy and low carbon fuel sources. The centre’s rooftop solar panel system is one of the green design features.

Project Essentials

  • LocationVancouver, BC
  • ClientCity of Vancouver
  • ArchitectActon Ostry Architects
  • Size8611 ft² (800 m²)
  • BudgetC$14 million
  • Sustainable FeaturesPassive House and LEED Gold Certified

The centre comprises two single-storey childcare facilities on the rooftops of the Gastown parkade at 150 Water Street and 151 West Cordova Street, named Waterview and Portside, respectively. The two 400mfacilities provide a total of 74 childcare spaces, each accommodating 12 infant/toddlers and 25 preschoolers. The use of partially prefabricated panels simplified construction logistics and expedited the schedule.

The structure is comprised of a steel transfer frame, point loading down onto the existing concrete columns below. Above this is a significant exterior play space, and a prefabricated timber cassette classroom building. Keeping the structure as light as possible (to not trigger a seismic upgrade) and point loading down onto the existing column grid was key to the design on this project.

Both facilities have big outdoor play spaces – 11,000 sq ft – as well as views of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard inlet. With a pedestrian bridge connecting both facilities, the architectural expression is playful, contemporary, and complementary to its neighborhood, the historic Gastown.