The Building: Vancouver’s Stack was built for both work and play

With 540,000 square feet of coveted Vancouver office space and one killer patio, the Stack is the epitome of work-life balance.
Leila El Shennawy 
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These days, companies won’t be able to entice their employees back to the in-person grind with any old cubicle set-up—new offices will have to dazzle. One such design statement is the Stack, a brand-new 37-storey tower in the heart of Vancouver’s business district. Upon its completion at the tail end of 2022, it will become the tallest commercial building in the city. 

Vancouver’s Department of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability demands that any proposals for buildings surpassing 400 feet must demonstrate design merit. (The Stack tops out at 530.) In other words, if a building is going to take up a ton of space in the downtown skyline, it better be pretty. “The Stack had to earn the extra height,” says James Cheng, architect at Vancouver’s James K.M. Cheng Architects, the tower’s parent firm. 

Its interior may be all business, but the Stack’s ground-level park—complete with a pedestrian footpath, eye-catching art and a healthy helping of trees—is also designed for the public to enjoy.

Shipping delays on glazing materials from Kamloops and stone travelling up the California coast pushed tenants’ official move-in dates back by a few months. But now that the glass-coated edifice has taken its final form, it’s easy to see how it got its name. Four “boxes,” each containing 10 floors or less, are stacked vertically. No standard cubicles, but plenty of cubes. 

Each box has its own unique layout: the ground-floor box, which features soaring ceilings and functioning windows, is a draw for big-thinking tech firms; box two has multiple open-air decks; and box three is set slightly askew for a Jenga-esque element of visual intrigue. Box four, with its harbourside views, is where any future patio parties will pop off. 

A splashy rooftop terrace, which tops the Stack’s fourth box, offers stunning views of the North Shore mountains—not a bad backdrop for company barbecues. “You can have a real party up there,” Cheng says. “It’s the best view in Vancouver.”

The Stack’s developers have also built an impressive suite of amenities. Nook, an Italian restaurant, takes up 5,000 square feet on the first floor. Elsewhere in the building, there’s a fitness centre with a dedicated studio for group workouts—like yoga and Pilates—and lots of showers. And because it’s Vancouver, there are 250 bike stalls, plus a one-megawatt, 21-plug electric-vehicle charging station in the Stack’s expansive lower parking area. Remember commuting? 

This article appears in print in the January 2023 issue of Maclean’s magazine. Buy the issue for $9.99 or better yet, subscribe to the monthly print magazine for just $39.99.