Photos by Conrad Brown

I’m not much of a camper, but even I’m tempted to commune with nature and settle in for the night in the stunning open-air atrium of this Leckie Studio-designed penthouse.

In my fantasy, I don’t even need a tent: I just snuggle right into this moody rainforest skygarden and absorb the improbable experience of towering above Vancouver while also having my feet firmly on the forest floor.

It’s the heart of a 3,600-square-foot, two-bedroom condo in the hotly anticipated Vancouver House building. Bjarke Ingles handled the building’s original architecture, and then architect Michael Leckie took the ball and ran with it for the interior design of this striking unit.

Contrasting with the stark and stainless-steel building base, the condo is warm and inviting, with highly tactile surfaces: rich walnut and black granite abound. The travertine floor is warmed with a radiant, hydronic system in the winter, and feels naturally cool in the summer. “We utilized stone and wood on all surfaces of the interior in a variety of ways, not just wood on the floor or stone on the walls,” says Leckie. “This creates a much more womb-like sense of materiality.”

On the west side of the penthouse, you’ll find what Leckie calls “the spaces of morning rituals” (I guess the homeowner is not sleeping in the atrium like I would) -the bedroom, the bathroom, the workspace, and the kitchen. From here, windows from sweeping views of the ocean and mountains. The sprawling living room fills the northeast side of the home.

The three storeys of the penthouse are visually interconnected by the atrium, which allows light to flow through from multiple angles. A custom 122-light Bocci fixture fills the volume above the stairway.

But really, who even has time to eyeball the lighting designs or moody open-concept modernist spaces when there’s all this lush greenery, on display in a pretty glass box? If you need me, I’ll be setting up camp, under the treetops.

Originally published 14 July 2021