Originally known as the Westcoast Transmission building and later as The Qube, this unique 12 level structure is visible from most places within Vancouver’s CBD and instantly recognizable to all MacGyver fans as the Pheonix Foundation building.
Designed by William Rhone and Randle Iredale and built in 1969, the uniqueness of the building began right from construction with the center concrete core being built first and the floors being added from the top-down. The 12 floors are suspended on large steel cables attached to the top of the center piler and have no internal supporting structures between them. This suspension design makes it one of the most earthquake-resistant buildings in Vancouver. Mild stretching of the support cables over the years has resulted in a slight downward tilting of the floors such that a ball might slowly roll along the floor towards the outer wall. The building’s design won the 1970 Design in Steel Award from the American Iron and Steel Institute.
The building started off as the headquarters for Westcoast Transmission Co and was known as the ‘Westcoast Transmission Building’ until 2002 when Duke Energy brought the company and consequently renamed it to the ‘Duke Energy Building’. Then in 2004 Anthem Properties Group purchased and refurbished it into the ‘Qube’ condominiums with each floor having a combination of single and double bedrooms as well as studio apartments. Because the floors were designed with commercial ceiling heights the condominiums all have higher than normal ceilings at 9 feet 6 inches, giving the apartments a more spacious and open feeling.
Access to the building is via the lobby located at the base of the core column. It’s large glass doors are flanked on the outside by the security cube which houses the intercom, access control, and security camera. Inside, a marble floor complements the concrete walls which house the high-speed elevators on the left and the tenents mailboxes behind a wooden slat divider on the right; all overseen by the 24-hour security desk at the back of the lobby.
Tenets parking is catered for by 183 parking stalls housed in the building’s basement and accessible via elevators and stairwell.
Photos by: KiwiTek & DashboardOnFire