A Zoning Plan for the Downtown Area, Vancouver, B.C., published May 26, 1961; images from the planning department brochure shown courtesy of Tom Carter. This plan signals an important change for Vancouver, as it includes one of the city’s first modernist towers, the Burrard Building. The Burrard Building was built 1955-57, and the United Kingdom Building was built in 1958. Technically, it should also be noted that The Electra, the masterpiece of modernism, was completed first in 1957. The Burrard building may no longer jump out of the crowd today, but once upon a time, it rose with distinction. Originally it had metallic lemon/lime coloured spandrels, the detailing between the windows, but more recently it has been re-skinned with low key reflective glass windows. The building’s design was heavily influenced by Lever House in New York City.
I find it interesting to note that when the Burrard Building was completed, the first tenants to take up occupancy at the corner of Alberni and Burrard according to this photo from 1958 were none other than United Airlines, Canadian Pacific, and Pacific Western Airlines (thanks for the detective work, @VanArchives!). This was the height of the jet set era, and decades before purchasing a plane ticket would become primarily an online activity. Since November 2006, this retail corner has been occupied by Tiffany & Co., with Hermes situated across the street, and Louis Vuitton located on the other side of Burrard in the Hotel Vancouver.
These primitive and unrefined drawings offer a very early sketch of the future of the city. Before the building was even completed, you can see the influence that modernism was having via this fashion shoot taking place on Burrard Street, seen previously at PastTenseVancouver.