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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fom office to home : the adaptive reuse of office buildings to residential use in the core of the city of Vancouver Mawani, Jabeen Z.


This thesis examines the planning implications of the adaptive reuse of office buildings to residential use in the core of the City of Vancouver. In recent years, Vancouver's core has undergone significant urban transformation as a result of structural economic changes and directions advocated by the Central Area Plan (1991). The impact of these changes have in turn influenced the City's urban form and built environment. An inadvertent result of the reconfiguration of Vancouver's core has been the marginalization of some buildings which have become structurally obsolete for their original purposes and inappropriate for their new situations. Uncompetitive compared to their newer counterparts, such buildings are precariously positioned and subject to long term vacancy and decay. This thesis examines the process and implications of implementing adaptive reuse schemes in the core of the City of Vancouver and offers policy recommendations as to how such schemes may be utilized to maximize the life of a structure. This thesis also investigates the question of adopting this brand of adaptive reuse for the purposes of implementing live / work premises in the core. The research suggests that adaptive reuse is an innovative and flexible planning tool for the management of built capital in the core city of Vancouver and predicts that future conversions will occur again the area, namely in Triangle West. Adaptive reuse offers a sustainable approach to growth management and the recycling of built capital in the face of structural economic changes and accompanying spatial changes in metropolitan cores. The thesis research is presented in the following manner. An overview of the adaptive reuse literature is introduced to provide a full understanding of its nature and implications. A survey of policies which govern office and residential use in Vancouver's' core is presented to determine their suitability to adaptive reuse schemes. The three examples of office to residential conversions in Vancouver's core are analyzed in case study fashion to assess the impetus and impacts of these adaptive reuse schemes. Finally, the results of key informant interviews are presented to offer the perspective of various developers and planners with Vancouver.

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