Monday, September 24, 2012

Selwyn's Work

Mark your calendars for a night of celebration: the launch party for Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century West Coast Modernism on October 9, 2012. 

Published by D+M and beautifully produced by the fine folks at the West Vancouver Museum + Archives, the book features texts by Barry Downs, Adele Weder and Kiriko Watanabe. 

It's the culmination of a great deal of work (and the previous exhibition) that gives one of our richest visual archives its due.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cheng Reshapes Pelli

Vancouver will have one of its most prominent, if almost universally loathed, buildings transformed. 

The Sears (Eaton's) building will be completely renovated by James Cheng over the next two years in preparation for Nordstrom's arrival. Walls of glass and four floors of office space will create a vastly different urban experience in the area.

Undoubtedly, Cesar Pelli's 1973 building is a product of a different time and one that completely turns its back on the street and contemporary urban planning. And yet... there is something in its obstinate presence that acts as a curious foil in a city filled with tower after tower of glass facades.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pratt + Berwick on Blenheim

A lovely early Ned Pratt original from 1940 that probably doesn't stand a chance.

It's right next door to a 1941 Bob Berwick that has seen some remodelling but still retains its form.

Two examples of the progressive residential work that Pratt and Berwick were designing shortly after joining Sharp + Thompson in 1937. In 1945 the firm name was changed to Sharp, Thompson, Berwick + Pratt to reflect their growing contributions. 

The two continued their exploration of architectural form, especially Pratt whose own 1951 post and beam home was strictly based on the 4x8 module and is one of the clearest West Coast interpretations of international modernism. 

That house was recently restored by Pratt's son Peter in what is a beautiful example of adaptation for the 21st century.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bing Thom on Vancouver

A recent article by Bing Thom and Michael Heeney on urban isolation and what can be done to minimize it.

It ties in with re-imagining our urban space and also with initiatives like Pop Rocks (above) and last summer's Picnurbia.