Lantern-inspired condo building to rise in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Rendering for the Chinatown condo building that resembles a lantern (Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture)
Rendering for the Chinatown condo building that resembles a lantern (Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture)

To contribute to Chinatown’s neighbourhood identity, the designers of a mixed-use development set to rise at 239 Keefer have designed a structure that resembles a Chinese lantern.

The building will replace Chinatown Supermarket that used to serve as a one-stop shop offering fresh produce, meat and Chinese ingredients. The grocery was already closed when its new owner purchased the property for development.

Based on the development application submitted to the city by Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture, the building will feature eight levels. The ground floor and mezzanine will house retail spaces, while the second and third will house office spaces. The remaining levels have been designed for residential use, delivering a total of 25 condo units.

According to the architect, it recognizes that “the challenges of development in Chinatown have been increasingly evident.” Therefore, its team came up with a “design language” that “looks to the existing architectural stock and fabric of Chinatown, incorporating precedents of materiality and existing design language without being merely derivative.”

In a design rationale included in the development application, Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture stated, “… community sensitivities towards development formed the primary driver to the approach of this site renewal project.”

The architect also stated that the building’s ornamental and shading screens are elements that promote their “concept of lantern imagery at night allowing an interior glowing light to softly radiate out while serving as movable privacy for tenants.”

Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture’s team, through their design, aims to add a “rich fabric and character to Chinatown.”


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