Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vancouver Biennale

On July 15, an abundance of public art will begin populating our city as the 2009-2011 edition of the Vancouver Biennale ramps up. Installation runs from July until September and includes 30 major sculpture pieces and 60+ new media works.

As with the inaugural 2005-2007 biennale, some pieces will be retained at the end of the show. Let's hope for a better reception for these than that of Dennis Oppenheimer's Device to Root Out Evil, which after much consternation ended up at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.

The objective of the show is to engage the city in a dialogue about art and the social value of public spaces and judging by the last go round, it succeeds wildly.

Now, if they'd just been able to keep John Henry's Jaguar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Modern House Tours

The West Vancouver Museum and Archives and the Vancouver Heritage Foundation have announced their respective annual modern house tours.

The West Vancouver tour happens next month, on July 11, and will feature both contemporary and vintage modern architecture. The cost has understandably increased this year (to $100) and includes bus transportation and a wine reception at the end of the day at one of the featured houses. Last years' reception was held at the recently refurbished Forrest Residence, designed by Ron Thom in 1963.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation's Mid-Century Modern tour takes place on October 3 and, like West Vancouver's, will feature bus transportation and a reception at the end of the day at one of the houses. Last year's reception was at a Duncan McNabb-designed residence where Peter Oberlander gave a thoughtful talk that painted a rich portrait of the history of the modern movement in Vancouver.

The line-up of houses for both tours in past years has been excellent. It's a great chance to experience some of the city's unparalleled trove of modernist architecture.

Image: Stager Residence by Barry Downs, courtesy Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Erickson Memorial

A memorial service for Arthur Erickson will be held Sunday, June 14 at SFU's Convocation Mall. See Erickson's
website for full details. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

State of Vancouver

For a more in depth discussion of the VAG's potential move to False Creek see Frances Bula's blog
State of Vancouver

I've also added it to the blog roll to the right. The site is a great resource on Vancouver's civic fabric and expands upon her work in Vancouver Magazine and The Globe & Mail.

The Vancouver vs. Seattle Debate

Via Architecture is presenting "The Great Urban Debate", pitting the urban vision of cross-border neighbors Vancouver and Seattle. 

Moderated by local writer/historian Lance Berelowitz, the case for Vancouver will be made by Peter Steinbrueck and the case for Seattle will be made by Gordon Price. It's a reversal that should yield some worthwhile insights into the differing character of each city- a long gestating comparison most often associated with the presence of the I-5 freeway through downtown Seattle and Vancouver's rejection of a similar proposal in the 1960's.

Peter Steinbrueck has been involved in Seattle's civic politics and urban issues for many years and is the son of late Seattle architect and University of Washington faculty member Victor Steinbrueck. The elder Steinbrueck studied under Lionel Pries at U of W in the 1930's and later taught alongside him. Pries was also a seminal influence on Vancouver's own Barry Downs.

Gordon Price is currently heading up the City Program at SFU after serving on city council for many years. See his blog for more information and a post about the debate.

The event takes place in Vancouver on Tuesday, June 16th at 7pm at SFU Harbour Centre (515 West Hastings Street). The Seattle evening takes place two days later at the Seattle Public Library, recently designed by Rem Koolhaas.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The proposed site for the new VAG looks to have some serious issues, beyond the current fundraising climate. 

The concerns centre largely on costs associated with stablizing the waterfront land in addition to the high water table that would prevent below ground storage.

See Frances Bula's article in the Globe & Mail today.