The New Vancouver, Sunday 12 March 1922
This is a plan for a new civic centre and city hall in the area around what would become Victory Square, and proof that politicians and civic boosters love convention centres. Vancouver’s city hall at the time was the market building on Main at Pender that had become too small for the business of the city. The front page of the same paper has an article about merchants protesting plans to erect a cenotaph in the middle of Georgia and Granville Streets. In the end, the cenotaph ended up at this site and the City rented the Holden Building on Hastings east of Carrall for a temporary City Hall, where it would remain until the current one was built in 1936.
There have been countless plans and proposals like this in Vancouver’s history that never ended up seeing the light of day. For more of them, check out Jason Vanderhill’s Vancouver Imagined: The Way We Weren’t exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver.
Source: Vancouver Sun
Perhaps the greatest undersold development proposal in the history of Vancouver, here we have uncovered the plans that may have been pitched to the CNR suggesting what they could do with block 52 and the former CPR Hotel Vancouver. I’m reblogging this via pasttensevancouver, with additional images showing a detail of both the old Hotel Vancouver and this proposed perspective drawing from the Library and Archives Canada:
Perspective sketch of remodelling of the old Hotel Vancouver, Wednesday 12 July 1939
Nineteen thirty-nine was the year the current Hotel Vancouver opened and the fate of the much cooler old one would be undecided until after the war when Eaton’s ripped it down for a parking lot where they built their flag ship store a couple of decades later. Had it gone ahead, I believe this building would have consisted of retail stores below a parking garage.
UPDATE: This and other proposed structures that never materialized in Vancouver are part of a show opening today at the Museum of Vancouver called Vancouver Imagined: The Way We Weren’t, curated by Jason Vanderhill of Illustrated Vancouver fame.
Source: Watercolor by P Henderson for the Canadian National Railway, Library and Archives Canada #2963055
I was very interested to include this particular drawing for a number of reasons. It highlighted some key themes in my show; it delves into the question of attribution, it adds detail to the story of the unbuilt city where documentation is often scarce, and it tells the tale of a single drawing which found its way into the National Library and Archives.
First and foremost, I had been searching for any and all information regarding P. Henderson who sketched another one of the presentation drawings in my show. This drew me to the collectionscanada.gc.ca URL which described the drawing, but it had not yet been scanned. I commissioned a scan of the drawing through the Archives website, and was quite surprised to see the result. I’m not sure if the city has ever seen such an uninspiring proposition. The drawing may have been forgotten as quickly as it was drawn, but I’m glad it found its way into our National Archives through a donation from the Canadian National Railways collection.
Though I encountered very little additional information regarding P. Henderson, I was able to determine his first name. Peter Henderson is listed as an architect in both the 1939 Montreal directory and in the book Dear Nan: Letters of Emily Carr, Nan Cheney, and Humphrey Toms by Doreen Walker. I can’t provide extensive biographical details regarding his career (beyond the fact that he was working for the CNR’s architect at the time, John Schofield), but I did learn he was also in charge of art commissions and purchases for the CNR hotel. It seems he had some good taste, as he intended to purchase at least one of Emily Carr’s paintings!
My biggest regret with respect to these drawings is the fate of the original H.C. Wilkinson watercolour retouched by architect Francis S. Swales, which I have featured here before. Where has this original drawing gone? I don’t know if it has been seen since it appeared in the September 1930 issue of Pencil Points, but I hope one day it is rediscovered and properly preserved. Special thanks to the Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Architecture Collection at McGill University for their contributions to this post.
And so, you now have the back story to one of the featured drawings in my new show at the Museum of Vancouver. There are lots more stories to uncover with respect to Vancouver Imagined; I hope you get to see the show in person!
Cross-posted to Vancouverisawesome.com with alternate text.
Birds’ Eye View of A Proposed Scheme for the University of British Columbia by architect Thomas Hooper, dating back to 1912. Looking like a scaled down version of the Vatican, Hooper’s entry was ultimately rejected in favour of a proposal submitted by Sharp and Thompson. I posted some of those drawings here previously. For more on this drawing and early UBC history, click here and here.
Hooper can take credit for a number of iconic Vancouver buildings which survive to this day; the West Wing of the Provincial Courthouse (now the Art Gallery), the BC Permanent Loan Building, the Winch Building (now part of the Sinclair Centre), and East End Public School (now Strathcona Elementary School). He’s also responsible for St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria, among numerous other notable buildings in the capital and elsewhere. From UVic:
He worked all over BC in Victoria, Vancouver, Revelstoke, Vernon, and Chilliwack focusing on large, public commissions. However, the local economy and Hooper’s business took a sharp decline in 1913. Hooper moved his practice to New York in 1915, but he lost his market again when the United States entered the war…
Along the theme of architectural proposals, renderings, and the unbuilt city, stay tuned for an exciting announcement! More info coming later this week!
Of primary importance to the success of this building is the function and appeal of the public plaza. The integration of a large public space into the base of a tower requires careful consideration of openness, animation, and interest. It becomes a focal point around which the tower evolves and responds.
To create a visually appealing and unique space the concept for the park is a carving away of the base of the tower. An undulating form is revealed in the soffit that stands in contrast to the sleek glass above and distinguishes the plaza as a public space. The corner is lifted high to allow as much light as possible to enter the plaza, and the edges of the site mediate the changes in grade to allow multiple points of access and transparency for increased safety.
The tower acknowledges and responds to its neighbours and surrounding context. The curved corner and gentle roof peak address the street corner and the primary views of the building while maintaining some of the design language of the plaza. The proximity of the neighbouring buildings is addressed with two gently curved setbacks that serve to bring additional focus to the plaza and also maintain some separation and views between the buildings.
I came across this application thanks to Heritage Vancouver, after researching the building that was on the site previously, the Empire Building. I did a then and now mockup here which I have also included above. A glass dome sits on the site currently, creating a rather curious semi-public space in the city, which may not be with us for much longer if this application is built.
I should announce that I will be featuring architectural renderings in a big way in the near future; watch for more info in following posts!
Hotel Vancouver luggage label, circa 1901, seen via ebay. This shows the west wing addition of 1901-1905 that was designed by Francis Rattenbury, strategically obscuring the original 1886-1887 building from view. We could speculate this label may have been in use anywhere from 1900-1916, but I also presume it would predate 1912, at which point the hotel would be much more keen on promoting the grand new design by Francis S. Swales then under construction.
Changing Vancouver further describes the addition:
It was in an Italianate style, and from the postcard here it rather looks as if they expected to demolish the first hotel designed by T C Sorby. But as the picture [here] shows, the eastern wing of the addition was never completed. Instead it was cut off rather alarmingly and there would be a nearly ten year gap before the CPR were ready to replace the hotel and the first addition, also designed by Rattenbury. When they did that, they brought in new architects, initially W S Painter and later Francis Swales, who prepared a series of different designs all reasonably similar in style to the second addition which was incorporated into the final building.
Concept sketch for Stanley Park Totem Pole Visitor Centre by Matthew Cencich, via flickr.
This was a presentation board (building) I did for a visitor centre at the totem poles in Stanley Park in Vancouver.
The program called for washrooms for both sexes, a retail space, and a sheltered exhibit space. Too many people were peeing in the trees behind the totem poles and something had to be done. The open exhibit space was aligned to be exposed to water in both directions with a view towards the north shore mountains at the north end and coal harbour marina at the south end. I’d detail the cladding and upper glazing differently, and simplify the retail space layout now but I still like the double butterfly roof. This was presented to the parks board along with 2 other schemes…
The final scheme given the go-ahead was by Lubor Trubka Associates Architects, viewable here: http://www.lubortrubka.com/stanley_park.htm
Parks & Playgrounds, Vancouver BC brochure, dated 1925, seen at MacLeod’s Books recently. This cover depicts a proposed monument (I can’t recall if it was a column or an obelisk, sorry) at the end of the causeway entrance to Stanley Park, seen here overlooking Lost Lagoon. When the causeway was completed, they didn’t end up with a stone monument but erected a flagpole instead.
A reminder; TODAY there is a Walk in the Forest event at VanDusen Gardens. Come down from 12-2pm for a little art mob excursion! The 1976 modernist pavilion originally known as MacMillan-Bloedel Place is facing demolition, and Michael Kluckner, with support from Heritage Vancouver, would like to see it preserved.
The building known as the Education Centre (also the Forest Education Centre) is a modernist masterpiece lost in the forest of an untended section of VanDusen Garden. Built in 1976, it was originally known as MacMillan-Bloedel Place, named for its donor, the largest forestry company in what was then the largest industry in British Columbia. Its unique educational displays, including a 50-seat theatre, were called “A Walk in the Forest.”
Architect Paul Merrick, working then as chief designer for Thompson, Berwick & Pratt, set the pavilion into a small hill on the edge of a lake in the northwest part of the gardens. Its green roof was one of the first in the city, and its unique internal columns used some of the finest wood in British Columbia. It won the Canadian Architect Yearbook Award of Excellence Award in 1974, and was constructed by Halse-Martin of Vancouver. It was once an object of pride for the city, VanDusen Garden and the Park Board…
Note this campaign is not endorsed by the Park Board or VanDusen Garden staff.
Waldorf Hotel facelift, proposed by Claude Neon Limited, which I speculate is circa 1971, though I’m not certain. This image has been slightly retouched, original from kk’s photostream on flickr. As mentioned previously, the hotel was designed in 1947 by architects Mercer & Mercer, built in 1949, and opened in 1952, it was transformed as a “tiki”-themed bar and hotel in 1955. The hotel then sold in 1970 to the cook, Frank Puharich [source 1 & source 2]. The illustration reads:
Rough proposal for the facelift of the Waldorf Hotel
Fascia bond to be embossed bamboo to simulate a South Seas hut effect. The signage & wall graphics below the fascia bond to be the same effect as the current “Polynesian” signage. Under canopy illumination to be employed on the fascia bond.
The facelift of the front of the building to carry the theme created by the Polynesian dining room entrance.
Top portion of the building to be repainted.
Claude George’s French company, Claude Neon, brought neon to North America in 1923. In 1924, George Sweeney and other local investors set up a company called Neon Products in Vancouver, to produce neon signs for Western Canada, which is still in business as part of the Jimmy Pattison empire. It would eventually become one of the largest sign companies in the world. Neon signs were eagerly sought after by Vancouver businesses and in 1953, Neon Products cited 19,000 neon signs in the city of Vancouver, one for every 18 residents. Today there are only a few dozen of the 19,000 vintage neon signs left…
There is a Love-In for the Waldorf happening TODAY at 2pm! More details from Facebook:
Press conference at 3 pm, mini food cart festival from 2-5, various musical acts and art performances by Vancouver luminaries, music by internationally renowned Vancouver artist & DJ Rodney Graham, Free Cereal Day for kids. Family friendly. All welcome!
Concept sketches by Michael Green Architecture, from his unsolicited proposal for a decentralized VAG with 4 satellite galleries. I’m not sold on the concept of fragmenting the gallery necessarily, but I do like the idea of a really great sculpture garden. This would be difficult to attain with just a single site, as there would likely only be a small rooftop or courtyard space available. Thus, I find the Phase 4 Stanley Park VAG / Blowdown gallery very compelling. We have the benefit of the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale temporarily programming sculpture throughout the entire city, but having something with a bit more permanence would be nice.
Renderings from the Evergreen Line image gallery. Coming summer 2016. “Photos, videos and artist renderings are available for use in whole or in part without permission provided they are used unaltered. No credit line is required.”
Concept illustration for False Creek flats, part of the Re:CONNECT competition from the City of Vancouver (page 8 of this PDF), via SpacingVancouver.ca. I presume this rendering was completed by someone at Perkins+Will, but I’m not certain; perhaps one of you know? In total, the competition generated:
75% GENERATED LOCALLY
1,500 ONLINE COMMENTS
15,000 ONLINE VOTES
I do believe that reflects just how much you all really care about this city.
Proposed English Bay Pavilion, from the Sea Shore, for the City of Vancouver, by Parr and Fee, Architects. Seen posted in a collage of historical articles at the VPL, unknown source, perhaps City Council minutes. The plans for the Pavilion are dated 1905 with an addition dated 1906, according to dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org.
As stated by the buildingvancouver blog, “…in terms of the number of buildings erected at the turn of the 20th Century they were the architects in town.”
Frank Gowen’s Vancouver: 1914-1931 describes the English Bay Pavilion;
In 1906 a frame bathing pavilion had been built at a cost of $6,000, but by 1909, additional facilities were needed, and an attractive bathhouse was opened. The earlier building was torn down in 1931, and the present bathhouse occupies the site. From 1939 until 1955 when it was torn down, the 1909 concrete building housed Ivar Haglund’s popular aquarium.
A unique attraction at English Bay was its pier and landing stage. Designed by Parr and Fee, one of the city’s leading architectural firms, it was completed at a cost of $21,000 in the fall of 1907. Unfortunately it was poorly maintained over the years and had to be torn down in 1939. Given the pier’s popularity, one wonders why it was never replaced…
I’m not quite certain of the dates in the quote above, and I don’t always trust the dates I see in the photo descriptions either; for example, Vancouver Archives photo SGN 302 says 1901? which is a bit premature. In spite of this error, the photo does an excellent job showing what the actual wooden frame pavilion looked like, and photo CVA 1376-80.32 gives a closeup view of some bathing beauties reclining in front of the building, circa 1910.
An artist’s conception of the Museum of Vancouver, seen in a special Economic Progress edition of the Province, Tuesday, May 31, 1966. It was drawn by Jasper Veerman, who also has a painting inside the Museum of Vancouver. The museum didn’t quite turn out as illustrated here, as evidenced by this flickr photo by Guilhem Vellut. The building was designed by architect Gerard Hamilton, and it opened in 1968, then called the Centennial Museum. The text from the ad titled Point of Departure stated:
One hundred years may not be long in the life of a country, but it does provide a significant milestone. Think of it as a point of departure. What will happen during the next one hundred years? How will Vancouver look one century hence? How will the people of that era be thinking and acting?
The magnificent Museum complex, Vancouver’s centennial project, becomes our point of departure celebrating the fantastic course of man’s history up to the present and speculating bravely on the future.
That is the spirit with which Vancouver enters the next one hundred years—with respect for the past but with boundless enthusiasm and ambition for the future.
English Bay Hotel by architect Macey & Osborn Assoc. Architects, Edward Thomas Osborn, illustrator, circa 1910-1930. The building style is Tudor Revival, and as you can guess, it was never built.
I speculate this was to be located at the foot of Denman and Davie, right in front of the steps to the beach (see below). From the University of Washington library website:
Born and educated in England, Edward Osborn arrived in Seattle about 1910 and worked as a delineator for several well-known architectural firms. From 1920-1930, he occasionally worked as an independent designer. Osborn was known especially for his watercolor renderings. While design specifications exist for commercial projects that Osborn was either commissioned to design or those that he put out for speculative bids, the name English Bay Hotel does not appear among them. This hotel was
possibly[definitely] not built.
My friend & colleague Neil Whaley writes:
You’ll recall that when the Sylvia Hotel was built in 1912, the operators wanted it to be a hotel but the city forbade it—it started as the Sylvia Court Apartments available by the month/week and became a hotel in 1936. So the E.B. Hotel proposal could have been doomed just because it would have been a hotel.
Update: I thought I should add this quote about the Sylvia Hotel from page 42 of The Unknown City by John Mackie & Sarah Reeder (of which I have an autographed copy!):
Abraham Goldstein named the building after his daughter, who died in 2002 at the age of 102. Construction of the Sylvia started in 1912. Her father’s original idea was to build a hotel, but the city would only give him a permit for an apartment block, so it opened as the Sylvia Court Apartments on May 3, 1913.
Update! A large scale reproduction of this drawing appears in my 2014 show at the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Imagined: the way we weren’t. I estimate this drawing to be circa 1923 based on similarities to other drawings from that period.I now believe this hotel was slated not for the foot of Davie and Denman, but rather it appeared to be planned for the 1600 block of Beach Avenue. The address 1662 Beach Avenue was the 1917 residence of ET Osborn’s consulting engineer Taggart Aston, with whom Osborn had created his grand scheme for a Free Port of Kitsilano dated March, 1917. Fortunately for everyone in Kitsilano, a large scale port was not ultimately located in Vanier Park!
The Main Post Office (1958) designed by McCarter Nairne & Partners, uploaded by Heritage Vancouver on Flickr earlier this year as their number one pick for their Top 10 Endangered Sites of 2012. This is followed by the ambitious concept of the day, the Main Post Office (1958) with a giant tower dissecting the building, rather resembling a mid-century modern loveseat if you ask me.
I love this post office just the way it is, and I hope they find a way to recycle it. Again, if you ask me, I think it should be a giant tech incubator / machine shop / 3d lab / studio. I don’t think it would make a particularly great art gallery, but it would be an awesome production space!