The Dock Building serves a large marina of sailboats on Jericho Beach in Vancouver, Canada. The facility provides washrooms and showers, offices, instruction space for children, and a variety of workshops to maintain boats, sails, and gear. The project’s practical working needs, very modest budget, and prominent siting required a simple solution that honoured the industrial heritage of waterfront buildings found on the site a half-century before.
The massing is simple. Two intersecting wedge volumes mirror each other to create a lantern to the sea and a lantern to the land. Facing land is a gluelam and translucent polycarbonate wall that brings light into the workshop spaces and glows along the beach at night. Facing the sea and the marina are a series of garage doors opening to the shop bays and glazed offices for the management of the docks. A back-lit wood screen above the offices hides the mechanical systems in the high volume of the wedge facing the water. A knife-edge gutter provides an overhang for the shop doors, mimicking the razor edge forms of the racing sailboats that line the dock.
White standing seam panels are used for the exterior, reflecting the forms and colour of sails and boats. The structure is a mix of gluelam posts and beams with light timber infill decking and walls, while the interior is predominantly construction-grade fir plywood, providing a tough, easily replaceable finish.
The building resides on the waters’ edge, where high tide meets the beach. Almost half of the budget went to the foundation and piles, leaving the design team with the challenge of meeting the project’s functional needs while delivering something meaningful to the community.
Our ambition was to create an elegant and functional building within a constrained budget, providing healthy, inspiring spaces for learning, working and playing.