The Passages, City of Surrey Canada

Robert Park

The Passages offers a radical new model for the urbanisation of North America’s suburbs. This mixed-use scheme at the heart of the emerging City of Surrey in British Columbia re-imagines the development model of towers emerging from private podium as a permeable pedestrian quarter of diverse building types and uses. Five public passages lead to a civic square at the scheme’s heart: a place of movement and gathering for both new residents and the project’s wider Surrey constituency.

AN OPEN CITY QUARTER

Working to produce a more inclusive, socially diverse and economically resilient paradigm shift in Vancouver’s development pattern, this proposal for The Passages on Whalley Boulevard is for an open city block, with free-flowing public space at its heart: a common ground given to a wide range of community, commercial and recreational uses. The scheme offers an exceptional urban condition by focusing on permeability and public space accessible to all via a series of passages. These lead to an open piazza at its centre, integrating high density housing with informal, meandering lanes, bringing movement through the site. Ground floor spaces include a community hall, creche, commercial spaces and co-workspaces at the base of each tower. 

CREATING A NEW URBAN CONTEXT

The Passages’ six polygonal plan buildings have no front or back; all façades are on display and active, serving as extensions of the public realm. There are three building typologies proposed across the site: Flatiron Towers, Point Blocks and a timber-framed, mixed-use courtyard Mansion Block; a new typology to the Vancouver housing market. Together they offer a variety of form and scale, façade and texture, all contributing to the landscaped passages at grade. 

ECHOING THE BRITISH COLUMBIAN LANDSCAPE 

The scheme’s low-rise buildings share the granite material palette of the public realm to form a monolithic urban canvas and public stage for the 21,31 and 39 storey towers. In contrast, the three towers’ faceted, directional plan forms and ‘shingled’ iridescent aluminium cladding have a roughness that echoes at a super-scale the texture of British Columbian coastal forests. This organic quality is amplified by the towers’ green, blue and black tones. Deeply recessed continuous loggias offer every apartment a protective layer: shelter from the near-continuous rain, sun-shading, wind-protection and privacy, while 2.7m high ceilings optimise daylight. A large outcropping of granite provides a focal point in the Central Piazza, a natural surface for climbing, sitting, or adventurous play. 

The Passages gained consent from the City of Surrey in December 2019, with detailed design progressing this year.

Site Area
16.466 sqm (177,238 sq ft)
Floor Area
89,943 sqm (968,143 sq ft)
Height/Storeys
119.85m / 38 Storeys
Units
1126 Homes
Amenity
2,738 sqm (29,467 sq ft)
Retail/Commercial
1,683 sqm (18,114 sq ft)
Public Realm
3,354 sqm (36,102 sq ft)
Status
City Permit Granted
Year
–ongoing
Client
Rize Alliance
Architect
Alison Brooks Architects
Executive
IBI Group
Landscape
PWL Partnership
Civil Engineer
CoreGroup Consultants
Arborist
Goode Arboriculture
Transport
Bunt & Associates
Mechanical
Integral Group
Electrical
Nemetz (S/A) & Associates
Structural
Glotman Simpson Consulting
Visualisations
Omega