The Great Northern Way Pavilion is relatively small in stature but it makes a statement like no other structure in the City of Vancouver; it is truly a stunning architectural achievement.  The building is formed by a series of curving petals that cascade from an oculus at the roof, down to the pedestrian level.  The inner set of petals contain the glazing and the outer set of petals are free standing to the ground.


The Surface

KPS is proud to have developed the exterior panel system for the facade of the pavilion.  The Architect’s design intent included a series of over-lapping tiles that would follow and compliment the curvilinear nature of the building.  This was a difficult task as standard wall and roofing methods would not work well.  KPS designed and engineered a custom aluminum composite material wall tile system that was not only installed with an expert level of craftsmanship, but also provides a high performance rainscreen.  The specialty finish is a colour shifting custom Spectra red that uniquely reacts with the ambient light conditions.

The wall tiles used on the façade are fabricated using 4mm FR ACM manufactured by AlucobondUSA.  One of the greatest qualities of this material is its ability to remain flat and true without ‘oil-canning’.  A traditional roofing approach to this project would likely have employed the use of a very light gauge single skin sheet metal.  This undoubtedly would have resulted in a much less refined appearance with undesirable surface undulation of the metal.



Due to the complexity of the architecture, KPS was retained to participate in a Design Assist contract.  The obvious challenge presented to KPS came at first glance of the Architect’s 3D rendering of the building.  We recognized immediately that the curvilinear form of the building would not allow for traditional fabrication and installation methods.  KPS developed a custom exterior panel system that is one of a kind and had never been used before, but we stayed true to the building science principles that we follow with all of our high performing Rainscreen applications.

During the Design Assist KPS erected a full scale mock-up of one of the building’s petals.  The process allowed us to refine our fabrication and installation methods.  Completion of the mock-up not only demonstrated that our final approach would work, but it also provided an opportunity for the Owner and Architect to confirm that the end result met their desired aesthetic.



On site, conventional scaffolding was used but this did not provide full access to all areas.  KPS sourced an anti-slip material that allowed our workers to walk on previously installed tiles.  The workers were tethered with fall protection, but the anti-slip mats protected the tiles from being scratched while preventing the workers from slipping on the tiles.

The end result was a great success and the building has already been featured in international architectural periodicals such as Azure magazine.  The Pavilion will serve as commercial space with food service to the neighborhood, and in particular, to the students attending the various educational institutions in the surrounding area.


“Everyone at KPS has done a great job and shown the much needed care to achieve such a well-crafted finish.  Please extend my thank you to the whole team!”

Yehia Madkour, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP BD+C

Director of Innovation, Senior Associate