Friday, July 29, 2011

Shannon Mews Approved

In a disappointing decision by city council, the proposed Shannon Mews development by Wall Financial has been greenlit.

After three nights of public hearings council voted 6-4 in favour despite the vocal opposition of many citizens. I attended the first night and the general tone of comments was not anti-development but rather that the scope of the current proposal was out of scale with the property and the neighborhood.

Furthermore, the heritage aspect of the plan focuses almost exclusively on the Rogers mansion, gatehouse and perimeter wall while ignoring the delicate siting that went into Erickson's mid-70's townhouses.

Photo: Arlen Redekop

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Coast Modern Soiree

Coast Modern is throwing a party to raise finishing funds for their film. Check out the trailers for Gavin Froome's and Michael Bernard's comprehensive and vibrant study of West Coast Modernist architecture.

The action takes place on July 28 at Ouno Design's space in Strathcona. Oysters, booze and music will be on hand, as well as the excellent CoMo posters by Byron O'Neill and BUILD.

Tickets are $10 (with drink) or $100 (with poster + drink) and can be purchased online.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hollingsworth in North Vancouver

In what is already proving to be an active month for architecturally significant listings, add Fred Hollingsworth's 1950 Moon Residence to the list.

It is one of his Wright-influenced Neoteric designs that features a taut post and beam structure, cedar board and batten siding, copious interior plywood and red brick that defines the central living space. The house is actually two linked structures set on a 45 degree angle, giving a dynamic sense of space.

The Moon Residence is listed as a Primary Building in North Vancouver's Heritage Building Inventory and remains in stunningly pristine condition.

Mid-Century Real Estate

Check out Robert Crowe's Facebook page focusing on local Mid-Century Modern real estate.

It features a comprehensive survey of active listings across the lower mainland and an abundance of related mid-century information.

If you're in the market for a beautiful Thom-designed home that needs some love, here's his listing for the Carmichael residence.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Linear House

The latest residential project from Patkau Architects: Linear House

Sited between a Douglas Fir cluster and an orchard on Saltspring Island, the house spans 276 feet in length and exhibits the highly refined Patkau aesthetic; in this case, realized in broad rectilinear form in fibre-cement board and maple millwork.

The interior spaces are expansive and relate directly to the surrounding landscape through top hung doors that, at their widest, open to 78'. In the right light these openings appear from inside as vast, beautifully rendered landscape paintings.

Linear House has been widely profiled since its completion and recently won at AZ award.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Carmichael Residence

Ron Thom's 1957 Carmichael residence is on the market.

This is one of Thom's Wright-inspired hexagonal houses and shares a common language with the nearby Southworth and Case residences. Taken together, they show Thom's development beyond his earlier rectilinear designs.

Interior view showing brick, wood and sand-float stucco.

The material palette of concrete brick, natural wood and sand-float stucco coalesce into a series of intimately connected spaces with an embracing scale. A broad hipped roof, clerestory windows and extensive butt-joint glass add a richness to the design and draw the exterior landscaping inward.

At just 1150 sq. ft. the house is small, even by 1957 standards, but it emphasizes quality of living space rather than size, in stark contrast to current trends.

Plan from 1950's Canadian Architect article showing hexagonal grid system.

Section from 1950's Canadian Architect article.

The Carmichael residence has a trail of recognition including the Massey Medals for Architecture in 1961. It was one of two Thom-designed homes featured in the Architecture and Sculpture in Canada exhibition at the Canadian Government Pavillion during Expo 67 and is also listed in West Vancouver's Survey of Significant Architecture 1945-1975.

Carmichael Residence as shown in the 1961 Massey Medals catalogue.

In close to original condition with Thom-designed furnishings still intact, the house needs work but is listed as "mainly lot value" which is a travesty considering it's an exemplary West Coast style building by one of Canada's greatest architects.

But with a lot size of 88'x150' the business case for tearing it down and increasing the FSR through rebuilding is compelling.

However that doesn't take into account its less tangible qualities: thoughtful design, an essential connection to nature and the not inconsiderable belief in the ability of architecture to enrich the quality of life.

There is always hope of a middle ground: a sensitive restoration with an addition or a secondary building on the lot that allows the preservation of this remarkable little house.

Color photos: John Bland Canadian Architecture Archive at McGill University.
B+W photo: Selwyn Pullan