Friday, June 29, 2012

West Vancouver Summer

The West Vancouver Museum and Archives has a busy July lined up.

The current exhibition shines a light on The New Design Gallery, the proto-contemporary art gallery started by Alvin Balkind and Abraham Rogatnick in West Vancouver in 1955. Works by many of the artists who exhibited at the NDG, including Binning, Jarvis, Balzar and Mayrs, are on display.

Also WVMA's annual West Coast Modern Home Tour is slated for July 14. Tickets for the bus tour are sold out but as of this writing spots are still available for the drive-yourself option.

The New Design Gallery exhibition runs until September 15, 2012. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UEL Residential

The University Endowment Lands continues its evolution from a sleepy, professorial enclave spotted with pre-1940's colonial and modest mid-century housing stock, to one increasingly populated by new structures that maximize square footage and cost per square foot.

It's the now classic Vancouver paradigm of small houses on large lots that encourage demolition and rebuilding.

The list of architects who built in the area is a who's who of Vancouver's early progressive designers: Sharp + Thompson, Berwick, Pratt, Thom, Hollingsworth, Downs, McNab, Lasserre, Porter, Van Norman, Erickson, McCarter + Nairne, Semmens + Simpson and McKee.

It's a significant concentration of housing and one that is slowly being lost. Recently the Muir Residence (see below) was razed. Designed by Sharp + Thompson, Berwick, Pratt in 1951, it displayed early modernist characteristics such as strip windows, a pitched shed roof and a red brick chimney on cross axis. 
Other houses that have been demolished include Maslow (S+TBP), Miller (J.L. Miller), O'Connor (McNab), Mackay (Cullerne) and Mitchell (Semmens + Simpson).

There are those that remain, in varying states: S+TBP's Freeman house sits in disrepair and for sale. McKee's Ellett house is wasting away, utterly engulfed in overgrown landscaping, boarded up and awaiting eventual demolition. 

The Jones house, by RJ Thom (at S+TBP) has been sympathetically renovated and remains intact. Porter, Chard + Wisnicki's Nemetz house sits as it always has, virtually unchanged. The Gladstone (Hollingsworth) and Narod (Thom) houses still nestle on their lots, for who knows how long. Barry Downs' late modern Oberlander house still looks serenely out onto the adjacent ravine.

It's not all bad news, however, as there is good work being built by more recent generations of Vancouver architects. Bing Thom, Nick Milkovich and D'Arcy Jones are now represented in the area, providing a welcome foil to the faux heritage that predominates, and a continuation of the dialogue that was started over half a century ago.

Below: Narod, Ellett and Oberlander houses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Binning Open House

The Land Conservancy is hosting an open house at the B.C. Binning residence on Canada Day.

The National Historic site will be open from 1-4pm, with guided tours by Matthew Soules happening at 1:30pm and 3pm.

It's an opportunity to see the home and work of one of our original modernists and to support the good work of The Land Conservancy.

Vancouver's Viaducts

The City of Vancouver has released the viaducts proposal. Public open houses happened recently and feedback can still be given online until the end of Wednesday.

The document lists the winners of the re:Connect competition, including the submission above, by DIALOG and PWL Landscape Architects.