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Additional Resources

Visit the Vancouver Convention Centre Home Page. Contact PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc. at

The Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project was highlighted in the 2009 Greenroofs of the World(TM) Calendar from in the month of April.

Case Studies

PWL Partnership; Flynn Canada; American Hydrotech; Soprema.


Sloped and Complex Green Roofs Richard Hayden in’s inaugural 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World(TM) Virtual Summit on the GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube; August 2, 2009 4:31 video Vancouver’s 6 Acre Living Green Roof on YouTube by David Budge which, according to Bruce Hemstock of PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc., “not only captures the roof visually but also does a good job of explaining the premise behind the design.”


November 24, 2011 Grading Vancouver’s giant green roof by Steve Whysall in the Vancouver Sun; February 9, 2010 Vancouver Convention Centre Goes Platinum Vancouver Convention Centre press release; November 7, 2008 Dignitaries gather for some urban planting by Mary Frances Hill in the Vancouver Sun.

The Vancouver Convention Centre is LEED® Platinum for New Construction and LEED® Platinum for Existing Buildings by the Canada Green Building Council, the first convention center in the world to receive this highest level of LEED certification. Also known as the Vancouver Convention Centre West, it opened on April 3, 2009 and is truly a model in sustainability for a civic building of this size. Designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects, the Vancouver Convention Centre West features a six-acre green roof, which is the largest in Canada and the largest non-industrial living roof in all of North America (as of April, 2009).

“We recognized that this was going to be an expansive building and that the roof needed to be part of the story. We saw it as a blank canvas to respond to the surrounding North Shore Mountains and neighbouring forest. We designed a six-acre/2.4-hectare living roof—the largest in Canada—and incorporated LEED® initiatives throughout the open space design. Our vision was to create a place to learn about urban ecology, and see how sustainability can make a difference. The roof moderates heat in the building, improves urban air quality, cleanses and reduces rainwater runoff, and creates valuable habitat. This new habitat became a self-maintaining, self-regenerating living roof with flushes of grasses and wildflowers appearing 12 storeys above Coal Harbour. Today, entomologists from UBC are using the roof to study insects and learn how living roofs contribute to biodiversity in urban environments.” ~ PWL Partnership

Built over land and water on some 1,000 piles, the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project was completed in late 2008. In order to ensure that the expansion and existing facility are fully integrated, a glass-walled connector links the facilities, providing delegates with exceptional harbour views as well as a seamless transition. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass throughout the expansion, the green roof is landscaped with more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses from the Gulf Islands, providing natural habitat to birds, insects and small mammals. This unique ecosystem is planted over 12″ of growing media, and the vegetated roof is just one of many environmental innovations included in the expansion.

Additional highlights:

  • The green roof is designed to act as an insulator, projected to reduce summer heat gains by up to 95 percent and winter heat losses by up to 26 percent.
  • Canadian Premier Gordon Campbell took part in the final planting, saying, “The living roof is going to be something that is recognized around the world.” See related story below.
  • The convention centre project was designed to achieve LEED Canada Gold certification, but received Platinum.
  • In 2010, the Vancouver Convention Centre West served as the international broadcast and media center for the XXI Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, and was the focus of attention for millions of viewers worldwide.
  • Home to 4 beehives (European honey bees) – pollination & honey for ‘scratch’ kitchen.
  • Restored marine habitat built into foundation dramatically improves water quality & growth of large variety of sea life.
  • Sophisticated black water treatment plant recycles grey & black water for toilets & rooftop irrigation.
  • Seawater heating & cooling system takes advantage of the adjacent seawater.
  • Recycles an average of 180,000 kilograms of materials annually, nearly half of the total volume of waste generated.

Plus, a whole new planting palette of native species for the Pacific Northwest, was established, having trialed the large scale propagation of never before commercially-grown native species – in a novel potting mix – free of peat, a first.

The slope of this roof is quite unique and ranges from 3% to 56%. PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc. led the green roof team in developing the design, plants selection, growing medium design, detailing, nursery propagation coordination and installation field review.

The areas between the Convention Centre and Seaplane Court have a walkway with green roofs of varying slopes. The American Hydrotech GardNet® system was installed to retain the dramatic slopes and 1 gallon plants were planted within the cells. Additional growing media was added afterwards. In this portion of the walkway the slope is between 10:12 and 12:12 and the base formed the structure of sculptural elements, where the green roof terminates in a slope of 81 degrees (Richard Hayden of American Hydrotech’s Sloped and Complex Green Roofs from the 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit).

ILD was brought on board to test the integrity of the Vancouver Convention Centre’s waterproofing membrane prior to the installation of the overburden and as a retest after the overburden was installed, resulting in the installation of International Leak Detection’s (ILD) Electric Field Vector Mapping (EFVM) system.

The custom greenroof system includes:
– Metal deck
– DensDeck
– Permaquik Membrane w/ root inhibitor (now owned by Tremco Inc.)
– 4″ extruded insulation
– American Hydrotech GardNet®
– Filter cloth
– 12″ engineered soil

The Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project has numerous awards including 2017 CaGBC Leadership Award for Existing Building; 2016 “First Healthy Venue in the Americas” by World Obesity Federation; 2013 AIA Institute Honour Award for Architecture; 2011 Top Ten Green Projects AIA’s Committee on the Environment; the 2010 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Awards of Excellence in the Extensive Institutional category.


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