With buyers paying up to C$5 million (US$4.5m) for a home in an iconic upmarket development in Vancouver’s protected heritage district, it was essential to provide a durable integral waterproofing system for the 37-floor, glass and concrete project.
Along Vancouver’s protected heritage district stands Jameson House, with its 37 illustrious floors of glass and concrete. Situated in a corridor of heritage buildings, Jameson House makes a statement that asserts modern architectural art. The four rounded bays on the west side of the building are the most defining architectural elements that maximise views and minimise the effects of wind and thermal gains. The interior of the building is equally stunning, marking Jameson House as one of Vancouver’s most special properties. Among its many luxury features is the first fully automated valet system in Canada.
The outstanding design can be attributed to project architect Foster and Partners studio led by Lord Norman Foster. Jameson House marks the first mixed-use venture by the firm in North America. With established developer BOSA driving the project forward alongside a design firm, Jameson House was well on its way to success. The thrust of the property was clear and simple: use the highest-quality materials and trades possible to build a stunning building that would last a lifetime. No expense would be spared as the total construction costs reached over C$80m (US$72m).
As with any structure, durability would be the key to defining success. Of course, the durability would be a direct result of the materials used to protect it from general ageing and wear. As concrete was the main building material used throughout the total 292,000ft 2 (27,127m 2 ) of the structure, long- term protection of the material was a critical concern for the developer, who had to select a water-resistant system that could guaran- tee lasting protection of its building, not only to safeguard reputation but also to please upscale residents. As the building was an innovative mix of retail, office and residen- tial space, it included business tenants and residential buyers who had paid up to C$5m (US$4.5m) for their home.
Concrete provider Lafarge was selected for the project. It was consulted on methods to optimise the performance of the concrete, with a strong focus on longevity. Having worked with Kryton on many projects both locally and abroad, Lafarge suggested hydrophilic integral crystalline technology as the water-resistant solution. Integral crystalline technology replaces external membranes and coatings by transforming the entire concrete mass into a permanent barrier that cannot be punctured, damaged or worn away. Lafarge has had success over the years using Kryton’s Krystol Internal Membrane (KIM) admixture to protect below-grade foundations, pits, retaining walls and containment tanks – but the project collaborators had an unconventional application in mind.
With a prestigious designer on board, the developer felt that preserving the exterior look of the building was a priority. It decided to use the KIM admixture for the above-grade areas of the building, as the unfinished architectural concrete was the unique design finish dictated by Foster and Partners. As Vancouver sees heavy rainfall for over seven months of the year, the building had to face these elements for its life- time. Unlike seemingly similar waterproofing systems, Krystol technology is effective under hydrostatic pressure, allowing it to protect against rain and other weathering elements. Lafarge used over 2616yd 3 (2000m 3 ) of its Chronolia concrete treated with approximately 29,630lb (13,440kg) of admixture.
Accelerate strength gain
Chronolia is a ready-mixed concrete that accelerates strength gain. Together with the admixture, there is no question that the concrete was a premium value-added mix. At first glance, the investment in the mix seemed exorbitant – but upon closer examination, both value-added products allowed for greater return on time and performance savings. KIM is packaged in pulpable bags, which are added to the concrete directly at time of mixing. Once cured, it outperforms coatings, sealers and external membranes, reducing costs, saving time, and improving jobsite productivity. With the use of KIM alone, projects typically see costs reduced by 40% versus traditional systems. The admixture combined with Lafarge’s Chronolia further shortened the construction cycle, allowing the project to be completed sooner.
Using KIM in the above- grade areas was indicative of BOSA Properties’ pursuit of quality as each material was selected with a careful, discerning eye. From conception to completion, the ‘spare nothing’ approach was evident. The interior finishes included remote-controlled counters, travertine stones and complimentary membership to the city’s most prestigious private club, Terminal City Club. With these amenities and more, Jameson House clearly epitomises quality.
Concrete is a building material that saw its first formulations in the first century BC. As technology progresses, science and research are finding ways to improve the durability and performance of concrete; they have come a long way. With developers, architects and other construction players seeing the value in high-quality materials, the world is building longer-lasting, architectural marvels. The emphasis is no longer on durability or design exclusively, but rather a new twofold approach. Jameson House is the manifestation of this trend. Today, it is one of Vancouver’s most luxurious buildings and with the concrete protected it has the potential to stay this way for decades to come.