Friday, January 31, 2014

Architecture of Religion: Chapel at Redroofs

The Church of His Presence is a tiny chapel near Sechelt commissioned by sea-going Missionary Canon Alan Greene. It was designed by Ron Thom in 1961 with Dick Mann while both were at Thompson Berwick and Pratt.

Still in use by a few old-timers, the chapel is perched on a rock bluff that looks out onto Welcome Pass. Greene built it as a memorial to his wife and the scattered congregation he ministered over many years by ship up and down the Sunshine Coast as part of the Columbia Coast Mission.

The simple A-frame structure is flooded with light from the largely glass enclosed end walls and a central skylight. The original solid wood doors (second photo) were replaced with plate glass ones as further funds became available to Greene after construction. Side windows at floor level provide sheltered views of ground cover from the pews, peeking out from underneath a flared roof edge. 

A relatively spacious deck leads to the front entrance and also serves as a gathering area during warmer months. 

The chapel was built by local tradespeople, with many of the materials acquired by donation. Greene himself donated the land. After construction, it was discovered that the chapel broached the neighbouring property slightly. As a suitable agreement could not be reached, it was moved so as to sit wholly on Greene's lot.

It remains a classic West Coast structure and a graceful if rough-hewn reminder of B.C.'s architectural and maritime history.

Historical Images: Anglican Archives of the Diocese of New Westminster

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hahn Oberlander Book

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander's work is integral to the fabric of Vancouver and forms the living heart of the Robson Square Law Courts and the Museum of Anthropology.

A new book–Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Making the Modern Landscape–celebrates her designs and will have its launch at Inform Interiors on February 6 from 5:30-7:00pm.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bank of Canada Atrium Threatened

Arthur Erickson's 1979 Bank of Canada building is being threatened by an upcoming renovation. 

The Bank of Canada is demolishing the current atrium in an effort to better use it as an informal space for bank employees. It will be replaced by a greatly reduced version, lacking a water feature, original plantings and undoubtedly Erickson's sensitivity. 

In a reversal of the spirit of the garden, it is also being closed to the public. 

Given the integral relationship between Erickson's buildings and the landscape it is a devastating move.

For more information see The Cultural Landscape Foundation's page.

Binning Sale Blocked

The potential sale of the Binning house has been blocked, in a ruling from the B.C. Supreme Court.

Among other reasons, Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick ruled that TLC must demonstrate efforts to find a suitable trustee for the house before any possible sale could be considered. 

It's a (temporary) win for the preservation community and a chance to find a suitable long term solution for one of the most important modernist houses in the country.