Olympic Village is dense and green, but human scale?
After innumerable design reviews, worrisome cost overruns, and the bailing out of its developer, the Olympics athletes village in Vancouver, British Columbia, opened in February to a burst of public praise. “The Olympic Village is a serious urban accomplishment,” declared Lisa Rochon, architecture critic of The Globe and Mail, a leading Canadian newspaper.
Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s planning director, was ecstatic that the village — built on former industrial land two miles from downtown — had come to fruition and was displaying its modernist version of green urbanism to a worldwide audience. The village consists of 1,100 apartments plus ground-floor shops and services, a community center, public gathering spaces, and residential courtyards.
Filling 18 acres in a redevelopment area known as Southeast False Creek, the village abounds with environmentally-oriented features. At the top of all 15 residential buildings are green roofs where residents can cultivate flower gardens, grow herbs and vegetables, or simply enjoy looking out across the city. Altogether, plantings will cover 57 percent of the roof area, or 3.5 acres.
Condo buyers and apartment renters will start moving into the $1 billion-plus complex in May, after the