Shell Bar

SHELL BAR

This project began with the given shell of a small concrete building, located at the entrance to a 700’ long pier in North Vancouver’s industrial/recreational foreshore. The little building was once an infrastructural hub for the pier, which was part of a massive shipyards facility (variously called ‘Burrard’, Wallace’ and ‘Versatile’).

The facility was a constantly evolving industrial complex of makeshift and permanent buildings, piers and dry-docks. Until its decline in the latter half of the 20th Century, it was one of the most significant shipbuilding operations on the west coast of North America. Today, the small concrete building sits unnoticed on the pier. This project aims to revitalize the existing structure by reimagining it as a bar.

Given the close proximity to the ocean, the structure of the bar was inspired by nearby mussels attached to docks and rocks that become visible as the tide goes out. The existing structure was maintained, though selective openings have been cut into the exterior surface to allow space for circulation and natural light. The added ‘shell’ structure that envelops the existing building is composed of steel with frosted and transparent glazing. The transparent glazing is used to frame views towards the city and out to sea, while frosted glazing visually hides nearby industrial sites and construction.

Exterior envelope connection detail
Frosted vs. transparent glass panels diagram

Process

Inspiration

Inspiration for the exterior shell structure was taken from Renzo Piano's 'Pathé Foundation' and Steven Holl's 'Maggie's Centre.'