Thursday, November 29, 2012

Architecture of Religion: St. David's United

A sort of companion building to Redeemer Lutheran Church, St. David's United in West Vancouver was completed a year earlier (in 1958) but anticipates the design of the later Massey Medal nominee.

St. David's is a larger, more refined building. However the general design program is the same and was to become fairly standard for churches in the city: an A-frame structure, supported by ascending glulam beams that buttress concrete base walls. The result is a vast, open area of worship.

A central skylight runs the length of the nave, admitting light that filters down the wood decking. Stained glass windows line the exterior walls. There is an absence of elaborate ornamentation that is consistent with other religious structures of the time and the modernist ethos. 

As with Redeemer, the chapel is offset by low-slung post and beam service areas that house offices, meeting rooms and administration. An interior garden area acts as a nice counterpoint to the shifting structure and spaces of an open stairwell. 

After 50-plus years, the landscaping is fully mature and the church is enveloped in a border of green that buffers it from the adjacent busy roads and highway.

St. David's was designed by G.W. Peck and Thompson, Berwick and Pratt.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

Follow the link for a great profile on Cornelia Hahn Oberlander via CBC's Ideas.

Oberlander is also speaking at her own home with Barry Downs on Wednesday November 21st as part of the series celebrating Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century Modernism.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Exploring Vancouver

Vancouver Heritage Foundation's final brown bag lunch happens this Wednesday November 21st. 

Harold Kalman will be speaking about his recent book Exploring Vancouver and the process of selecting buildings for inclusion. Robin Ward is the co-author.

Pictured above are the three previous editions of the book, published in 1974, 1978 and 1993 as well as the 2012 one. 

Though the 2012 edition is the most robust, each edition bears revisiting as they all have varied lists of building profiles, reflecting their respective eras.

After photographing the first two editions and skipping out on the third, John Roaf is back for the latest.

The talk happens at BCIT's Downtown Campus from 12 noon to 1:30pm. Register here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Safeway Comes Down

A few photos of one of Vancouver's rapidly disappearing group of glulam supermarket specials. This is the Safeway at Granville at 70th that was recently razed to make way for redevelopment.

The building was designed by Frank Roy in 1966 and featured a massive glulam structure, held up by metal columns, that was ideal for an open plan and broad supermarket isles. A curtain wall on the front brought ample light into the store. 

It was listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register with a Class A, Primary Significance designation and on Canada's Historic Places.

During the 1960's, Safeway designed a number of these signature stores, almost all of which are now gone (IGA on West Broadway) or altered beyond recognition (Safeway on West 4th Avenue). 

The redeveloped site is designed by Henriquez Partners Architects and will include two residential towers and a new Safeway store.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vancouver Curio: Pratt by Archer

A recent find: a portrait of Ned Pratt by Vancouver photographer Tony Archer.

Judging by Pratt's clothes and age, it likely dates from the early-mid 1960's.

Tony Archer was a Vancouver photographer active from the late 1940's until the early 1970's. During that time he photographed many business and political leaders, as well as the city's architecture. As it turns out, he also photographed Barry Downs' parents CBK Van Norman-designed home.

Archer retired in 1972, sold the business to Stephen Miller and David Olds and donated his pre-1960 negatives to Archives Canada. His post-1960's negatives were later donated there as well.

This particular print measures roughly 12"x18" and has been unfortunately laminated. It is signed by Archer on the print and by Pratt on the matte.