The Casa Mia landscaping plan, dated 1932-1933, by Ross A. Lort, assisted by James Bisset. This past weekend, I took in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage House Tour, and Casa Mia was on the program! Sensational! Here’s my photoset. This illustration appears in the conservation plan by Donald Luxton & Associates, and is available here via the City of Vancouver website. 
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com with alternate text.

The Casa Mia landscaping plan, dated 1932-1933, by Ross A. Lort, assisted by James Bisset. This past weekend, I took in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage House Tour, and Casa Mia was on the program! Sensational! Here’s my photoset. This illustration appears in the conservation plan by Donald Luxton & Associates, and is available here via the City of Vancouver website

Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com with alternate text.

On Saturday, April 5, Keith McKellar aka Laughing Hand opened a one man show at the Interurban Art Gallery in Vancouver. The gallery walls were filled with his large formats drawings, meticulously coloured and vibrantly printed, displaying some of the most characteristic establishments ever seen in downtown Vancouver. Many of these drawings were originally conceived for his 2001 book, Neon Eulogy, but in most cases, the drawings have been completely reworked, applying more than a decade of refined technique and skill to bring these scenes to life.

Not everyone can afford to bring home and install a neon sign in their living room, but it is far more feasible to bring home one of these works of art. Highly recommended! The show runs until April 29, 2014.

City of Vancouver Planning Department photograph, from the Vancouver Archives CVA 780-7 (with speculative colour restoration). This view of the downtown shows Robson Square, effectively before Arthur Erickson’s vision took root. The original photograph online was a scanned transparency, and it appears to have lost its colour over time (either that or it was an intentional colour effect) so I’ve taken the liberty here to simulate what it may have looked like. From the Archives description:

Photograph also shows the Richmond Apartments, Vancouver Public Library (750 Burrard Street), Irwinton Apartments (777 Burrard Street), Burrard Building (1030 West Georgia Street), Georgia Medical Dental Building, and the Hotel Vancouver (900 West Georgia Street). The rendering shows proposed development for the areas bounded by Hornby Street, West Georgia Street, Howe Street and Smithe Street. 

I thought this image would be a good illustration to coincide with the upcoming Drawing Party at the MOV on Thursday, March 27, 6-8pm! Details about the event are here.

I am very curious to see what wild visions attendees will be drafting up! The above illustration also got me thinking about a possible exercise. Take a photograph, Google Streetview, or Google Earth, frame a scene from your neighbourhood, and completely revision a block or two of the city! You can always just superimpose your drawing overtop of the scene on a separate sheet of paper, cutting out the edges of your vision when you are done. This is actually a practical way to obtain proper references for vanishing points and perspective, so the technique has real merit! Attached are a few suggested scenes I’ve always enjoyed pondering. Happy sketching!

Sublime; a mixed media group exhibition at the Ferry Building in West Vancouver with Charles Keillor, Thom Kline, and Rich Rawling. The show opened last week and runs until this coming Sunday, February 23, 2014 in the Ferry Building Gallery, at 1414 Argyle Avenue in Ambleside, West Vancouver. The gallery is open free to the public from 11 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.

Seen here is a graphite work by Charles Keillor, showing North Vancouver’s Lynnwood Inn just after it closed for good in 2012, and Watchful Lion 3, a watercolour painting by Rich Rawling, who writes: 

I was weaving my cruiser bike back to the North Shore after a sketching session at Stanley Park’s Second Beach. As I popped out of the forest at the top of the Causeway there they were. Those lions were looking hungry. But instead of sacrificing my carcass to them I took a few photos in the raking afternoon light realizing that these Art Deco masterpieces would be the basis for a few watercolours. I tip my hat to the sculptor who designed the statues…
The sculptor/designer of the Lions was of course, Charles Marega, a most handsome portrait of whom can be seen here, posing with his creation.

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.

Special announcement!

Vancouver Imagined: the Way We Weren’t, a guest curated exhibit (by myself, Jason Vanderhill) officially opens in the studio gallery at the Museum of Vancouver today, Friday, February 7, 2014. The display will feature a collection of reproduction architectural illustrations, as well as a 3-dimensional architectural model from the museum’s permanent collection.

I encourage all to attend; those who are interested in the architectural profession, veterans of the history of the city, and visitors alike should appreciate seeing this alternate history of the city. I’ll have more to say about the show in future posts, and it looks like there will be a curator tour on May the first; here’s the link!

Also take note, the excellent show Play House: The architecture of Daniel Evan White at the MoV has been held over until March 23, 2014! This is now your perfect opportunity to catch two great architecture shows at once!

Very special thanks to all of the illustrators and contributors, to Viviane Gosselin with the Museum of Vancouver, to Matt Heximer of 10four Design Group who designed the show, and everyone else who assisted with its production. I hope you enjoy the exhibit; it was a lot of fun to put together!

Hotel Grosvenor by Edward Goodall. I had featured almost this exact view of the hotel way back in the beginning of this blog with this 1936 advertisement. As I also mentioned previously, he began “Goodall’s Pencil Postcard Series” in 1942, and although the vintage of the vehicles in the front of this hotel look decidedly older, Citroën, MG, and AC all produced cars which resemble these well into the 1950s. Thanks for the postcard Tom!

Hotel Grosvenor by Edward Goodall. I had featured almost this exact view of the hotel way back in the beginning of this blog with this 1936 advertisement. As I also mentioned previously, he began “Goodall’s Pencil Postcard Series” in 1942, and although the vintage of the vehicles in the front of this hotel look decidedly older, Citroën, MG, and AC all produced cars which resemble these well into the 1950s. Thanks for the postcard Tom!

Renderings of Development Application for 601 West Hastings Street by B+H Architects. From the design rationale:

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!

Weekend Special by Ken Pattern, the December image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Here we have my favourite print from the series, featuring skiing atop the Hotel Vancouver # 3. Ken’s style is meticulous and well suited to the medium of stone lithography, a most demanding art form. It’s also exceedingly humorous, as his recent series on the Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore attests.

About the stone lithography process, his website gives an introduction to the process, as does the calendar: 
In this process, Ken Pattern creates the prints by first drawing an image on a flat piece of limestone. He then brushes a solution of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone’s surface; the resulting chemical reaction secures the image onto the stone.
To print the image, Ken rolls an oil-based ink onto a rubber roller, which he then rolls onto the stone. Repeating this inking process several times, he uses a sponge between each pass of the roller to keep the stone damp. With the image fully inked, Ken places a piece of paper on the stone, cranking the paper beneath the hard pressure bar to transfer the ink from the stone.
Each colour in the image requires a separate drawing and a separate printing. After each colour is printed, Ken grinds the image off the stone with grit, and then draws the next colour on the stone. Finally, with the printing finished, Ken edits the prints. Only those meeting his standards are included in the edition, and he ten signs and numbers them.

To truly appreciate this work, you must see one of these prints in person. Start by looking at the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may still have one or two available! Happy Christmas everyone!
Weekend Special by Ken Pattern, the December image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Here we have my favourite print from the series, featuring skiing atop the Hotel Vancouver # 3. Ken’s style is meticulous and well suited to the medium of stone lithography, a most demanding art form. It’s also exceedingly humorous, as his recent series on the Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore attests.
About the stone lithography process, his website gives an introduction to the process, as does the calendar:

In this process, Ken Pattern creates the prints by first drawing an image on a flat piece of limestone. He then brushes a solution of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone’s surface; the resulting chemical reaction secures the image onto the stone.

To print the image, Ken rolls an oil-based ink onto a rubber roller, which he then rolls onto the stone. Repeating this inking process several times, he uses a sponge between each pass of the roller to keep the stone damp. With the image fully inked, Ken places a piece of paper on the stone, cranking the paper beneath the hard pressure bar to transfer the ink from the stone.

Each colour in the image requires a separate drawing and a separate printing. After each colour is printed, Ken grinds the image off the stone with grit, and then draws the next colour on the stone. Finally, with the printing finished, Ken edits the prints. Only those meeting his standards are included in the edition, and he ten signs and numbers them.

To truly appreciate this work, you must see one of these prints in person. Start by looking at the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may still have one or two available! Happy Christmas everyone!
Rob Roy Meats, Toban Shoes Columbia Street New West circa 1980’s by Won Kang. 

Rob Roy Meats, Toban Shoes Columbia Street New West circa 1980’s by Won Kang

Flight into Fall by Ken Pattern, the October image from the 1985 Vancity calendar, which I mentioned previously. This illustration depicts the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and here it is seen with a flock of migrating umbrellas. Fall has come and nearly left us, but I figured I could squeeze this image in before the first snowfall. The bird sanctuary is one of the many great and lasting legacies that the Reifel family has given to the Vancouver region; it is a must see destination for all who live here.
Also above is an in-depth article written by Lorne Parton from the Province's Sunday pullout section dated December 9, 1984. About Lorne Parton, Chuck Davis wrote:
…After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he joined the Province as a reporter and columnist (1952-89) until he suffered a major stroke. A sensitive writer with a broad knowledge of cars, planes, the film industry and Vancouver’s power elite, he was noted for his careful use of language. A peer of fellow journalists Jack Wasserman, Jack Webster, Allan Fotheringham and Pierre Berton, “he moved with ease among politicians and paupers.” Remembered for his rapier wit…
The article explains the premise behind Ken’s “Vancouver Patterns Suite”, the series of prints featuring 12 visual puns, riddles, and inside jokes for the true Vancouverite. There were 50,000 of these calendars produced, but few of these have likely been preserved. Fortunately, a limited edition series of stone lithographic prints survives; check the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may have one or two still available. Keep on the lookout! These are true classics!

The Carrall Street Gas Plant, an illustrated booklet showing the operations of the new Carrall Street gas plant illustrated by KEN and published by BC Electric in 1932. I believe the plant went into service in 1933, and the plant obtained gas from coal until some time in the 1960s? I’m not sure; not much has been written about this former Vancouver landmark. If anyone knows, feel free to comment. The current Georgia Street viaducts were built over top of the site in 1972. This has left something of a toxic legacy, as stated on page 11 of this PDF report on the Georgia Street viaducts.

The activities and wastes associated with this former gas plant have significantly influenced the environmental conditions in the area, and will be an important factor in future remediation planning.

This comment by Alex Mackinnon noted on the Skyscraperpage bulletin board sums up the problem:

I was talking to Andy with Bing Thom at the Viaducts or Viadon’ts event, and according to him, the land underneath the viaduct in 1986 was estimated to cost $180M to rehabilitate due to contamination issues from the coal gas plant that used to occupy the site. CPI adjusted this is $372M in 2012 dollars.

While the industrial waste has left it’s toxic mark in the soil, it also affected the city skyline for many years with this ginormous gasometer jutting out of False Creek. I’ve decided to include a photograph from the Vancouver Archives just to give you an impression of the scale of this structure. You can also see the silo in the top left of the Goranson/Fisher/Hughes mural here. And Tom Carter seems to recall someone - probably Arthur Irving - said the whole city smelled like coal gas while it was being demolished.

KEN illustrated a number of other BC Electric pamphlets and brochures, but I have yet to determine who he actually was. He’s a pretty good draftsman, so I’d like to know more about him! Thanks again to Neil Whaley for contributing this brochure image!

The Culture Crawl, 2013, part 2! Featured here are Lonely Only by Jon Shaw, The Drive by Lawrence Lowe, Ovaltine by Lori Motokado, Transformer 167 E. Pender by Nadia Baker, and Early Morning Streetscape by Suzy Arbor. See you there this weekend!

Vancouver, a triptych from 2012 submitted by Julia Casol. She writes: 

Cities are unique worlds of their own within larger urban areas. They are thriving, dense, rhizomatic centers, and everyone and everything is connected into one giant network. This triptych is a surreal representation of the city: resembling an organic form of a neuron, I emphasize the network and density present in Vancouver with the urban nucleus and the nexus of roadways, cables, and electrical wires.

 

Vancouver, a triptych from 2012 submitted by Julia Casol. She writes:

Cities are unique worlds of their own within larger urban areas. They are thriving, dense, rhizomatic centers, and everyone and everything is connected into one giant network. This triptych is a surreal representation of the city: resembling an organic form of a neuron, I emphasize the network and density present in Vancouver with the urban nucleus and the nexus of roadways, cables, and electrical wires.

 

The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium, a pen & ink with watercolour submitted by Brian Hebb. Brian writes: “The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium was brand-new when I lived in Vancouver in 1968. Now, this great building is the Space Centre and the Museum of Vancouver. The big crab sculpture sits in a fountain outside the Space Centre/Museum of Vancouver. It’s a wonderful statue of shinny stainless steel sculpted by George Norris for Canada’s centennial year. I painted it yellow to depict the golden hue it exudes in the sunshine.”

You may have noticed the crab was removed recently this year for the upcoming Disney movie Tomorrowland. Here you can see the crab being returned to it’s place.