The station is located on the south side of Vancouvers False Creek at the foot of the Cambie Street Bridge, near the original shore line. False Creek formerly was home to the lumber and ship building industries that helped build the region. It has become a vital part of the waterfront area, recently host to Olympic facilities and now filled with a variety of uses, including a blend of medium density residential and street level commercial.
Olympic Village Station is a pivotal building, providing a key link between Vancouvers past and the emerging community evolving in the False Creek area. The spirit of the former industry, as well as a connection to the water, is still central to the evolving community and retained as part of the vernacular of both the neighbourhood and the station.
The stations central platform is located below grade on the north side of the street and is connected to an electrical sub-station on the south side of the road via a service corridor under the roadway. Large fan rooms are located at either end to provide emergency ventilation.
There is glazed mezzanine above the platform that helps passengers transfer between the entry and platform. A massive skylight over the mezzanine marks the transition between the geometries of the platform and the entry above and enriches the experience of moving between daylight and tunnel.
At grade, the fully glazed entry is aligned with West 2nd Avenue, where passengers can transfer to adjacent bus stops. The entry is a simple shed-like composition of wood, metal, glass, and concrete that simultaneously responds to the process of descending into the ground and the adjacent Cambie Street Bridge to the east. Exit stairs come to grade east and north of the entry in small glass and concrete pavilions.
The station design was intended to be durable and timeless, utilizing simple, evocative forms. The result is a seamless integration of public circulation, egress, trainways and building services in a necessarily compact building envelope.
The station geometry is determined by the relationship between the northwest orientation of the trainway tunnel below and the near east-west orientation of the street at the entry above. The underground mezzanine over the platform marks the transition from one orientation to the other.
Above grade, the entry opens to the street, with a glass facade and entry. The TG roof is supported by glulam purlins on steel beams and columns. The warmth of wood is welcoming, especially when illuminated at night. Pin connections anchor the roof assembly to the massive concrete beam behind.
Additionally, the station is an exploration in view and light; elevators are glazed to minimize CPTED issues crime prevention through environmental design, but as with the upper elevator, also afford unique vistas through the station. Ample glass on the faade and mezzanine, plus the massive skylight, help drive light deep into the station, occasionally reaching even the trainway at the bottom. Passengers also benefit from the interconnectivity of spaces, which continually unfold when moving between platform, mezzanine, and entry.
The station design is a progressive and modern expression manifest in the composite entry structure comprised of glass, steel, concrete, and engineered wood. The honest application of timeless materials, as well as local materials such as wood, solidifies a link to the past, while reinforcing the progressive, modern ideals of mass public transit.
The wood of the roof and purlins alludes to the regional legacy of lumber, but is carefully engineered like the adjoining steel connections, refined into elegant, modern efficiency like the trains running on the tracks below.
The structural materials are the finished architecture. The only exceptions are tiles that provide durable walking surfaces and walls in traffic areas. The only decoration is the accent wall tile patterning that reference striations in the soil, changing colour from grade to platform.
The general form of the entry building expresses the transition from grade to the platform underground: passengers are greeted by the warm wood ceiling; a massive skylight marks the intersection of geometries at concourse level below and draws light deep into the station, occasionally as far as the east wall over the trainway.
The street faade is primarily glass, weather protected under the wood roof and supported on minimal steel columns. The wooden roof provides weather protection, but is turned up to the south, its underside becoming part of the facade expression. The warmth of wood is welcoming, especially when illuminated at night.
A massive concrete wall and beam extend the concrete structure from below and are angled to rise up to grade with the escalator. The wall and beam form an anchor for the lighter elements above grade while also separating the station entry from future development to the north.
The station is post disaster construction, designed to survive its expected 100 year life span. It was constructed as part of a P3 public-private-partnership over a period of about 15 months. Significant coordination was required during design and construction due to the immense number of services required to be cast into the concrete for fire code and safety reasons. Necessarily, there are many redundancies and fail-safes as a result.
The station box was originally used as a staging site for the tunnel boring machine used in the tunnel construction. The station also marks the transition between the bored tunnel and the cut and cover tunnel construction systems.
Across the street, the electrical substation is concealed in a plaza under an off-ramp. This minimizes the footprint of the building while adding a public amenity. The site over the station box is also landscaped and will become part of a pathway system connecting to the edge of False Creek.