^ It was also always going to be metal panels. The faux articulation of the massing to try and make it 'read' as multiple buildings was part of the reason for the initial lack of support, mostly because it was going to use the same (lowish quality) materials in different colours, as opposed to committing to the differentiation through the use of different materials, different windows, different fenestration, awnings, commercial retail expression, etc.
However, my recollection was that the dominant reason were the huge reservations about the original design's highly problematic breezeway to the alley that would have added pedestrian permeability between Hastings and the alley, which the architects were excited to note functions as a "parallel pedestrian street" that they wanted to celebrate and activate with small incubator retail spaces. Yeah. To address the screamingly obvious CPTED issues, it would have had some sort of swinging & folding portcullis-like glass and metal barrier system that would be dragged out nightly to bar access to the alcove/passageway from Hastings and the alley outside of business hours, though I'm honestly not sure how that was illustrated in the previous rendering. There was a well-intentioned fantasy of having a series of (tiny) commercial retail units on the alley side that would accessible from Hastings during the day using the passageway. I am not sure whether the passage way survived to the final (built) iteration, perhaps in a re-thought configuration.
So yes, the final design is pretty flat and bland, and higher quality materials would have helped, but the insanity of creating brand new weather-protected alcoves and passageways free from prying eyes on the street leading to the largely lawless laneway were important reason for the original design's lack of support. At least that's my recollection. It's been a few years now.
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Last edited by SFUVancouver; Aug 31, 2015 at 7:49 PM.