Contact Us

The 3 Meanest Things Said About Waterfront Tower

The edgy design of Waterfront Tower, a 26-storey office building proposed by Cadillac Fairview for 555 West Cordova St, has sparked fierce criticism. ICYMI, here are three not-very-nice things that have been said about the tower (and one nice one).

“It looks like a rodent from Jurassic Park had chewed the base.”


That’s the sentiment of Anthony Norfolk, a member of Vancouver’s heritage commission, which voted for the proposal 6-2. (Anthony was one of two nays; the other guy likened the tower to an “ice pick.”) Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, and B+H Architects, the origami-inspired building would cantilever over the CPR station on its eastern edge, and pull back from The Landing, another heritage building, to its west. But Anthony’s not a fan. “It is jammed up against the station and it has absolutely no relation to The Landing.”

“… it’s really a big geometric blob.”


Local architect/real estate consultant Michael Geller wasn’t pulling punches in offering his feelings on the tower, a part of the city’s plan to transform the area into a transportation hub. Michael told the Vancouver Sun he believes the tower’s international designer team didn’t show the proper respect for the design of the adjacent train station. “I’d like to think a local architect would have had a greater appreciation for the need to separate any new building on this parking lot from the heritage CP station."

“Its architecture looks skin deep…”


City planner and UCLA PhD student Neal Lamontagne took to Twitter to share his thoughts on Waterfront Tower. “At its heart, (it's) a bulky glass office block," he said. "I think (that's) the heart of our collective disappointment." The tower proposal has several hurdles still to clear. It's slated to go to the Urban Design Panel this week, and the Development Permit Board in March, where it will undergo its final review. 

“Give me jarring. Give me the incongruous.”


Sun columnist Pete McMartin came to the defence of Waterfront Tower, urging his fellow Vancouverites to step outside their comfort zone and open their hearts to a bit of architectural outrageousness. “If anything, a 26-storey highrise hanging over the CPR (station's) shoulder won’t take away from her charms; it will showcase them,” he wrote. "Up against all that knife-edged glass and steel, her century-old columns and brickwork will look serene and queenly.”