Giving Aging Buildings a New Lease on Life – The Crystallis Building Restoration Envelope Project


No building lasts forever. All structures need maintenance and upgrades in order to stand up to nature’s elements. It’s quite common to see buildings wrapped in webs of green netting in Vancouver – a sign that some form of restoration is going on.

The Crystallis, a 20-25-year-old building located at Harwood and Burrard in downtown Vancouver, required removal and replacement of its envelope – the barrier between the inside of the building and the outside elements.


Overcoming Obstacles

Challenge: Building envelope replacements are expensive – often costing millions of dollars – and they can take a long time to complete. The owners and tenants of the buildings have to live through the entire process – with their windows covered in scaffolding and netting.

Solution: Spectrum completed the project ahead of schedule and everyone was happy with our work. This reduced the amount of time that residents had to endure the construction process.

Challenge: We replaced skylights on the 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th floors, so we had to get our materials up to extreme heights, which also meant the job was dangerous.

Solution: Spectrum had a man elevator turned into a construction elevator. We then lifted each skylight around the scaffolding, which encompassed the entire building.

Challenge: The building’s original drawings were not available.

Solution: Spectrum had to come up with all the designs. RDH was so happy with our work that they even asked us to design and install a canopy over the front entrance. The owners loved it!


2-Crystallis canopy