Friday, April 30, 2010

Party For Architects

The third installment of
Party For Architects is slated for Thursday May 6 at Vancouver Special.

The evening will feature guest speaker Bryn Davidson of Lanefab, food from Tonina's Deli and, yes, beer. Coast Modern Film will also be on hand to present an L.A.-focused film trailer.

Past events have featured excellent talks by D'Arcy Jones and Clinton Cuddington and are a great chance to get together and talk architecture.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Endangered Heritage

Heritage Vancouver has released its
2010 Top Ten Endangered Sites.

Included on the list are The Bloedel Conservatory, Kitsilano Senior Secondary and the Dal Grauer Substation. Also noted as endangered are Vintage Neon Signage and Historic Street Trees, both of which have been disappearing downtown, particularly on Granville Street.

John Mackie of the Vancouver Sun ran a feature on the list, which has stirred up a lively debate in the comments, though it's dismaying how easily our cultural heritage can be overlooked. We need to realize that these sites are an integral part of our history-particularly in a city as young as Vancouver-and that in tearing them down we risk losing a crucial part of our identity.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Two opposing views of the new HBBH-designed CBC addition: Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog piece from last year and Adele Weder's recent profile in Canadian Architect.

I can sympathize with Waterhouse-Hayward's view- like him I had a fondness for the CBC building as it was originally designed, by Paul Merrick of Thompson, Berwick + Pratt. It was of its era, its Brutalist style reflecting both architectural and broadcasting currents at the time.

I also agree that we can be too quick to alter buildings merely because their style has fallen out of favour. Every building has a story to tell, yet additions to existing structures are a reality and an artform in themselves. Sympathetically designed they can lead to an enriched dialogue, like this or the VAG's current Erickson/Rattenbury home.

I think Weder nails it when she defends HBBH's addition as flowing from a new directive for broadcasting and media in general, one that started with the client: it is becoming more democratic and transparent in a way that was difficult to anticipate even a few years ago.

Merrick's concrete edifice and HBBH's glass-faced newsroom contrast two distinct solutions that speak to the CBC's evolving mandate.

Image: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden