The New “Fitness Experience” Inside Vancouver House Is Exactly What You’d Expect

On November 6, I was among the media, influencers and models (more on that later) who funneled in to House Concepts, the new fitness studio at Vancouver House. The massive space is spearheaded by Lauren Gillespie, daughter of Westbank founder Ian Gillespie, and branded as a “world-class fitness experience that feels like home.”

Openings of this sort are always a little bit awkward—for me, there’s a lot of small talk and trying not to get in the way of other people’s photos. I was happy to have a buddy there, though it was a total coincidence: one of my good friends did some modelling for House Concepts a few months back, and she was also invited to the launch. The event included a fitness class (we chose yoga over boxing and bootcamp) and as they gave us our mat numbers, we joked that they’d surely put her at the front of the class and me at the back (Come on, branding!) (Also, we were wrong, I was at the front and she was at the back. Sucker.)

It’s not surprising that this studio is already rumoured to be the go-to spot for high-profile influencers and local celebrities. From the minimalist aesthetic to the quality classes to the significant price tag, it’s exactly the type of space you’d expect for the building that it’s in. Last night, the event attendees were mostly women between the ages of 25 and 35 who looked like they hit the gym regularly. I received a bathroom tutorial on how to make my ass look better in a gym selfie.

Here’s a snapshot of the space, along with some totally predictable observations:

I’m a sucker for a green wall.

The space is beautiful.

The 15,000 square foot studio was co-designed by Westbank and Leckie Studio. It’s black and bold, totally stylish, and extremely selfie-friendly. There’s floor-to-ceiling mirrors in the hallways, gorgeous curvilinear mirrors in the bathrooms, and of course, the standard wall-to-wall mirrors in the individual rooms. Natural light floods in from all sides. I mean this sincerely: there are endless opportunities to take photos of yourself.

A peek inside the boxing studio.

Their class offerings are robust.

There’s four different “studios” inside this mega-fitness space: Basecamp Athletics, Butterfly Boxing, Guest House and Bond Run Club (the run club hasn’t launched yet, it’s coming in 2022). They also offer private training sessions from in-house coaches. Basecamp runs a variety of class styles by the gym’s in-house trainers, including bootcamp-style sessions, while Butterfly Boxing takes place in a (very sexy?) red lighted studio and Guest House welcomes rotating class formats from guest instructors (I took a yoga class there yesterday). My yoga instructor, Danielle, was fabulous—she was kind and serene and offered lots of modifications for each move. After the workouts, the folks who took the bootcamp class looked like they got their asses handed to them, which is exactly what you’d want.

I’m aware that this story should not be focused on the bathrooms but they were so pretty I can’t help including a photo.

It’s built for people who are already fit.

This isn’t to say that you’d be laughed out of the studio if this was your first time in a gym. I’m sure that the staff would be lovely and super knowledgeable about what classes are best for beginners. But that doesn’t make the prospect any less threatening. Lauren Gillespie said “House was the opportunity to take something that has been so central in my life and share it with the larger community” in a press release, and that sums it up pretty well—if fitness is central in your life, you’ll love this place. If you’re not quite that hardcore, the experience is going to be a little jarring.

What sweat sesh awaits down this moody hallway?

The staff are god-level hot.

I have the unshakable high-school-era impulse to assume that people who are insanely attractive are also very mean and maybe stupid. That is a personal flaw that stems from my own low self esteem (and 9 years of braces), and I’m working on it. So I did find the staff at House Concepts to be pretty intimidating at first blush (literally), but they were all perfectly friendly and welcoming—which makes sense for an open house.

Inside the “Guest House,” which yesterday hosted a yoga class.

It’s pretty cult-y.

This is true of most “world-class fitness experiences,” and not necessarily a bad thing. Language like “unique collective concept” and “sweat and social movement” is very Soul Cycle-esque (and again, not always negative). Commitment to health and fitness is important, and there are certainly plenty of folks who want to “push yourself harder… be fearless and connect with others who want to do the same”—that’s also a quote from Lauren Gillespie.

Last night, I actually made a cult joke to a pair of influencers only to find out that they’re friends with Lauren. Oops! Anyway, like I said, cult-y isn’t always bad. I do improv comedy, and there’s no worse cult than that.

One more shot of the bathrooms. I had to.

It’s definitely a financial commitment.

A one-class pass is $35, ten class pass is $300, fifty is $1,250. They have a 3 month unlimited pass for $310—per month. It’s actually comparable to other high-end studios in the city: for one class, Lagree West is $35, Rumble Boxing is $30, Turf is $25. Gold’s Gym is $60 a month when you buy a year pass. Stack those up against your local community centres ($6.00 a class) and it looks ridiculous. But obviously, the more expensive places have luxury amenities and top-notch trainers. If you’re already investing $310 dollars a month into your fitness, this studio is definitely worth checking out.

Want to check it out yourself? House Concepts is hosting an open house until November 10, featuring an in-residence DJ, portrait studio, and pop-up shops. More info at

READ MORE: A Nightclub-Inspired HIIT Gym That Harry Styles Apparently Loves