In fashion, culture and architecture there is a new search for roots, for meaning, for heritage, for a link with the past that gives a significance to the present.
Oberto Oberti – Fashion and Architecture
The company celebrates four decades of work, and it can proudly look back at a unique record of accomplishments and innovation in the areas of architecture, planning and interior design.
It started in business in 1976 by pioneering the construction of luxury residential high rises with Seawalk Place on the waterfront of West Vancouver. It was the first apartment building in greater Vancouver designed for a new urban life style, featuring higher ceilings, larger suites and elegant interiors, overcoming a real estate slump and creating a new market and lifestyle of urban living as an alternative to the suburban dwelling. It also built the first section and opened to the public the acclaimed West Vancouver Seawalk.
In 1981 it designed and built as construction manager the largest factory in British Columbia for that year, Tristar Industries, located in Tilbury Island industrial park.
In 1987, the company completed the first rezoning in the Downtown District of the City of Vancouver for a new concept of living in the heart of the city, creating the first residential high-rise on West Georgia Street, which helped transform Vancouver into the vibrant city that we know today. The project helped to integrate uses in the downtown core, which prevented the collapse of property values along with the collapse of the office market. The project, Palais Georgia, was one of the most successful projects in downtown Vancouver. It was almost entirely pre-sold and it established a record selling price in 1989 ($600 per sq.ft.).
The architectural practice expanded with a multiplicity of projects, ranging from residences to new industries, and to schools and churches. Its first church project, called Christ the Redeemer, was featured by the CBC for the Easter Mass, and it remains one of the favourite locations for weddings in the west side of Vancouver and the North Shore.
There have been many restoration projects starting with Yaletown warehouses in Vancouver, and continuing with the restoration and re-use of the CIBC building at Granville and West Hastings Street in Vancouver (which received the heritage award from the City of Vancouver in 1994), the Henry Birks & Sons building at Phillips Square in Montreal (recognized in August 2007 with the award from the Montreal Heritage Foundation of the City of Montreal), and with the project of the renovation of the Union Trust Tower in Winnipeg (recognized with the Preservation Award of the City of Winnipeg in 2009). These projects have allowed the architectural practice to show its artistic understanding of the link between the present and the past.
Many new commercial projects have been designed and built across Canada and in the eastern United States. Crowning events were achieved with the opening of a new Henry Birks & Sons flagship store at the corner of Bay and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto in November 1999, and the opening of the new Rolex store at Fort Lauderdale in Florida in February 2001.
Throughout these years the company has also maintained an important focus on all types of residential projects, from unique homes to resort projects, winning many awards. It was at the forefront of the development of Whistler, from the original land use contract for Twin Lakes in 1979, to the first application at Village North (Twin Peaks Resort), and to the first hotel of Village North, the Pinnacle Hotel at Whistler, in 1996. The Selkirk Townhomes, completed in 2006 at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, received the Georgie Gold Award in April of 2007.
The largest projects have been generated by the planning activity of the company, which pioneered new resorts and mountain planning concepts since the 1980s. Ocean orientated resort planning focused on the shores of B.C., on Saratoga Beach on Vancouver Island, marina expansions in Vancouver, and studies for coastal developments. Mountain resort planning activity has been focused in promising B.C. interior, from the Westside of Kelowna (Crystal Mountain master plan, approved in 2002) to Jumbo Creek near Panorama (master plan approval in 2007), Whiskey Jack Resort near Sparwood (under construction), the centre and beautification of the Village of Valemount, and the Dreamcatcher project in Kimberley. The crowning achievement of a long series of innovative planning projects was the approval by the Premier of the Province of British Columbia, on March 7, 2000, of the plan for a new ski resort village of approximately 3,500 beds west of Golden, B.C., to be called Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Construction started immediately afterwards and the resort opened its doors to operations on December 8, 2,000. It is the first resort in the North American region of the Rocky Mountains designed around a dramatic access to a mountain top with one major gondola lift, equally attractive in summer for sightseeing and in winter for skiing. In January 2000, the Premier announced the approval of the Master Plan expansion to 20,000 beds, bringing the projected size of the development to the four billion dollars’ range.
This resort project, together with the most prestigious stores and residences, seems to epitomize our unique architectural, planning and design company group’s successful creativity and ability to spearhead and build truly innovative projects. We strive to provide true aesthetic and economic value for the benefit of our clients and of society in a rapidly changing and progressing world community.
The company is highly flexible and is able to move quickly offering design and execution on any type of projects even in remote locations because it has developed a large supporting network of individuals and companies with which it generates projects in a unified a team effort.