The Dock Building
Project NameThe Dock Building, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club Marina, by Michael Green Architecture
Photographer DetailsEma Peter
The Dock building occupies a prominent spot along the marina which is exposed to both the elements, and heavy foot traffic. A lightweight industrial style structure was decided upon for durability and contextual response. The engineered timber post and beam construction style serves practical and aesthetic purpose. Using timber instead of steel provides a beautiful offset to the egalitarian construction technique.
MGA have designed a spectacularly elegant and modern building, despite the modest budget. Michael Green, CEO, and President of MGA says “Delivering thoughtful, elegant architectural design is always possible regardless of budget.”The Dock building is proof that budget and typology don’t necessarily influence the quality and beauty of a structure.
The marina has a long industrial history, from canneries to fisheries, which the design sought to contextually resonate with. The simple volume uses two wedge shaped forms that intersect in order to present two different orientations. Polycarbonate clads the facades to create a lantern effect that glows both at the land and sea.
The facility provides washrooms and showers, offices for the Harbour Master, instruction space for children, and a variety of workshops to maintain boats, sails, and gear.
The dock building, at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, serves a large fleet of sail boats. The team at Michael Green Architecture responded to the brief for an industrial dock building with the notion that buildings of all typologies can be delivered with an elegant and cohesive design.
The timber constructed Dock building uses a post and beam style structure as the basis for its form. Glulam posts make up the wedge forms, which act like huge trusses. The rigid construction style allows maximum flexibility of the floor plate and openings, along with a super strong and lightweight frame. Traditional stud timber framing is used for internal walls and decking throughout.
Almost half of the project's budget had to be allocated to the foundations. Deep concrete piles and a concrete slab provide a solid foundation for the structure to be built over the water. The heavy foundations meant the design team had to be inventive in their material use and budgeting for the main structure.
The exterior skin of The Dock features two starkly contrasting materials that balance out the overall aesthetic. The industrial pragmatism of the standing seam metal panels that clad 70% of the exterior are softened by the light glow of the translucent polycarbonate that presents to the land. Timber battens line the upper half of the sea facing wedge, directing the eye line to the doorways and providing a link between exterior and interior palette.
The white coloured metal panels reference the colour of the boats that it services. A knifes edge gutter that protrudes over the garage doors forms a protective overhang and references the form of the racing boats in the marina.
Plywood is the main material used for lining the interior of The Dock. The warmth and durability of plywood were the main considerations for its use. The industrial grade plywood is easily replaced when necessary. The plywood lined false ceiling above the office space acts as an inconspicuous concealment of services and mechanical elements for the doors.
The land facing wedge features a glulam facade completely lined with translucent polycarbonate, which serves to flood the interior with a soft diffused light. The sea facing wedge uses operable garage style doors to open up the facade to the marina bays in the water. The plywood lined boat maintenance bays become the focal point of the facade when the doors are open.