Shell Bar

This project began with 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. 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 and bring life back to this forgotten area. 

This design imagines the concrete structure taking on a new life as a cafe and bar. Given the close proximity to the ocean, the structure of the bar was inspired by nearby mussels clung on to rocks that become visible as the tide recedes. 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. 

To prevent excessive thermal gains and losses within the space enveloped by the ‘shell’, panes of frosted glazing are insulated with capillary inserts which disperse daylight while maintaining a comfortable internal temperature.