Nemesis Coffeehouse, Vancouver

Perkins&Will, Vancouver

Photography by Ema Peter Photography 

Located In Vancouver’s False Creek Flats area, Great Northern Way Campus is a consortium of four local academic institutions: the University of British Columbia; Simon Fraser University; Emily Carr University of Art and Design; and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Perkins&Will created an office building and adjacent retail boutique known as the Red Pavilion, which acts as the front door to the emerging arts and design community. At the request of the pavilion’s occupant, Nemesis Coffeehouse, Perkins&Will also designed the interior space, which transforms from coffee shop in the morning to gathering and event space at night. The 2,110-sq.-ft., LEED Gold round structure comprises 10 CNC-cut birch plywood petals surfaced with red shingles. The interior continues the petal metaphor with fins made of the gossamer fabric used in a photographer’s lighting soft box. Originating from a central oculus atop the structure and carrying soft LED strip lighting, the fins trace the plywood-petals’ “veins” while acting as acoustic baffles. When caught by a breeze, the rippling fins give the impression that the space is taking a breath. Reflective and mirrored surfaces dematerialize the back-of-house pod while providing a gradient of visual transparencies: from low-iron vision glass displaying the coffee roastery, to one-way mirror glass partially obscuring the bustling kitchen.