A rainforest-style atrium with a cedar tree lies within a two-storey unit designed by Leckie Studio, located inside the new Vancouver House tower.
The penthouse is found within the sculptural, 59-storey tower that rises up from a triangular site in downtown Vancouver, near Granville Bridge. The building was designed by architecture firm BIG and was completed last year.
The two-level apartment is on the northwest side of the skyscraper, where it is afforded views of English Bay and the North Shore Mountains.
The unit’s owner desired an inviting atmosphere and spaces to accommodate natural artefacts and artwork from her travels. She turned to local firm Leckie Studio to oversee the design.
The team set out to create a layered environment that looked both inward and outward, and was infused with organic elements.
“Through an iterative design process, the studio and client arrived at a highly bespoke, biophilic design that is attuned to the passage of time,” the team said.
The unit is divided into public and private areas. On the bottom level, one finds a living room, dining area, kitchen and an office. A half-turn stair leads to the upper level, which holds two bedrooms.
There also is a 167-square-metre roof deck that is accessed via a private elevator.
“The experience of the penthouse is quite varied, depending on the time of day and which space is being occupied,” said architect Michael Leckie.
The unit’s focal point is a tall, glazed atrium filled with lush vegetation.
Acting as the “spine” for the penthouse, the atrium runs alongside the stairwell and extends from the unit’s bottom level all the way to its roof terrace. At the top, it is open to the sky.
“Conceived as a microcosm of the Pacific Northwest rainforest, its centrepiece is a full-size, red cedar tree that lends a contemplative and grounding element to the onlooking interiors,” the team said.
“The ecosystem surrounding this tree will be sustained long term by a ‘nurse’ log, which replenishes the space with nutrients from decay.”
Beyond the atrium, earthy elements are found throughout the dwelling and form a rich backdrop for the client’s belongings.
American black walnut makes up the woodwork in the living room, kitchen and bathing areas. The high-quality wood was also used for the stair treads.
Blackened-steel accents run throughout the unit and act as a counterpoint to the natural materials.
The penthouse’s sparse furnishings include an oak-topped dining table with a cast-bronze base, and a low-lying, multidirectional sofa that support various postures and orientations.
Floating in the stairwell is a lighting installation from Bocci that evokes a cluster of sparkling fireflies. The piece is made of copper and 122 glass luminaires.
The rooftop terrace is meant to serve as an extension of the living space. It is fitted with a stainless-steel jacuzzi, an outdoor shower, a kitchenette and plenty of seating.
Founded by Michael Leckie in 2015, Leckie Studio has designed a number of residential projects, including mirrored cabins that blend into the forest. The firm also designed Slack’s Vancouver office, located within a repurposed industrial building.
Photography is by Conrad Brown.