Jump to content

      













Photo

Modernist Buildings


  • Please log in to reply
80 replies to this topic

#1 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 12,749 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:33 PM

A closer look at our modern face

Eight buildings from postwar architectural movement are defined by clean lines, exposed structural elements and flat roofs

Carolyn Heiman, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A city with a reputation for being more British than Britain isn't the first to come to mind as a nexus of modern architecture.

Last week, the City of Victoria rolled out preliminary work that put a spotlight on a particular period of building that turned its back on Victorian and Edwardian styles that are practically the city's trademark.

Eight buildings considered prime examples of the Modern Movement from 1945 to 1975 are proposed for the city's heritage registry, marking the first time Victoria has looked at modern architecture in its heritage planning.

A report to council by Donald Luxton & Associates outlines the period's importance and gives "a statement of significance" for the buildings. The information accompanying the building photos on this page draw liberally from the Luxton report.

Elements that define Victoria Modernism include clean lines, exposed structural elements, curtain walls, flat roofs and ground floor podiums. In commercial buildings, exposed concrete, stucco and metal sash windows came into vogue. Some architects were influenced by Japanese design and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The end of the war was a trigger for the Modern development here and elsewhere.

"The world was a new place," said the Luxton report. A maritime defence centre and Canada's major west coast naval port, Victoria especially was affected by the demobilization of thousands upon thousands of troops returning from overseas.

However, Victoria had its own conservative response to the modernist movement elsewhere in North America where it was "coupled with a contempt for historic buildings."

In Victoria "a careful balance was achieved between traditionalism and modernism that in retrospect was far ahead of its time."

BENTALL BUILDING

Bentall Building, 1060-1080 Douglas St., was the first highrise commercial blocks built in Victoria. Owned and built in 1963-64 by Dominion Construction, which was founded by Charles Bentall, it is an example of an International Style office building. It made no attempt to fit the local Victoria context and recalls the design of the revolutionary Lever House in New York with a curtain wall tower rising from a horizontal podium. The Toronto Dominion bank has been a prime tenant since construction.

Architect's claim to fame: Frank Musson was part of Dominion Construction's in-house architectural staff. He went on to start his own practice and designed the Bentall Centre in Vancouver.

Character defining elements: International style details include continuous glass curtain walls, aluminum I-beams attached to the vertical mullions, and unornamented surfaces. The I-beams were both decorative and functional, acting as tracks for window cleaning equipment.

MAIN POST OFFICE AND FEDERAL BUILDING

The B.C. Electric Company Building, 1515 Blanshard St., was built in 1955 and designed by the architectural firm of Sharp and Thompson, Berwick, Pratt. It was the first Modernist building in Victoria and an early example of the style in western Canada. The province's dominant private-sector utility, B.C. Electric Company, used the building to test innovative ideas for its Vancouver head office to be built later. Designed as a thoroughly modern structure, it made no attempt to fit the local Victoria context.

Architect's claim to fame: Charles E. 'Ned' Pratt (1911-1996) was lead architect. Ron Thom (1923-1986), who became famous for his own work including Massey College in Toronto and Trent University in Peterborough, played a role in the design.

Character defining elements: reinforced concrete frame construction with expressed, exterior structural columns, glass curtain walls with aluminum mullions and light blue-coloured glass spandrels, aluminum sunshade louvers.

ODEON THEATRE

Odeon Theatre, 780 Yates St., opened in 1948, is the last remaining historic movie theatre in downtown Victoria. It dates from a time when movie theatres were highly significant to the community as television was not yet widely available and movies were the main form of public entertainment.

Architect's claim to fame: Henry Holdsby Simmonds (1883-1954) was a Vancouver-based architect who specialized in neighbourhood theatres and following the Second World War. He acted as the local architect for the Odeon chain which became known for their lively Streamline Moderne details and use of neon. The Victoria theatre was considered his most stylist and spectacular commission.

Character-defining elements: Asymmetrical inward curving false front with projecting kidney-shaped canopy and neon 'Odeon' marquee. The rounded corners and smooth planar surfaces display the influence of the technological marvels of the day such as airplanes, steamships and locomotives.

FORMER BALLANTYNE'S FLORIST

The former Ballantyne's Florist building, 900-920 Douglas St., was built in 1954 and is credited as being an "outstanding example of the development of a local stream of the Modern movement in Victoria."

Architect's claim to fame: John Di Castri (1924-2005) was strongly influenced by the work of renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Di Castri played an important role in establishing modern architecture in Victoria. Currently the Maltwood Gallery at UVic has an exhibit dedicated to his designs which include a number of Catholic churches on Vancouver Island, UVic's Cornett Building and the so-called Trend House in Saanich.

Character defining elements: Angular storefronts and complex and irregular geometry of the shallow-pitched cantilevered canopies reflect Wright's contemporary work.

BANK OF TORONTO BUILDING

Bank of Toronto Building, 630 Yates St., was completed in 1951 and served as the bank's Victoria headquarters. It reflects the postwar architecture commonly commissioned by banking institutions to portray the image of being "progressive through architecture, but cautious" in approach.

Architect's claim to fame: This was the last commission by Vancouver architect William F. Gardiner (1884-1951) who had a successful commercial and institutional practice including bank and insurance companies. He was known for his restrained modernist designs.

Character defining elements: Early example of Modernism, stripped of all classical references. Simplified, smooth exterior and large corporate emblem above the chamfered corner entrance. Masonry construction, honed Haddington Island andesite cladding.

CITY HALL ANNEX

City Hall Annex, 1 Centennial Sq., was designed in 1963 to commemorate Victoria's civic incorporation and rejuvenate the city's depressed downtown core. Its New Formalist styling was popular for civic construction. The design purposefully used elements of both the old City Hall, such as the arched forms, to link old with new.

Architect's claim to fame: Wade, Stockdill, Armour and Partners was originally formed as a partnership between John Wade and Dexter Stockdill, who influenced the development of modern architecture in B.C. The firm was responsible for the design of Saanich Municipal Hall (1963-65), designated a heritage building.

Character defining elements: Ornamented New Formalist styling expressed by rounded arches encircling the ground floor; square-sided bay windows on the second storey; pieces, gold-coloured aluminum window screens. Interior includes two-storey foyer with flying ramp and mezzanine and open circular staircase to the second floor.

CITY BROKERAGE BUILDING

The City Brokerage Building, 1018 Blanshard St., was built in 1937 and is a stylistic rarity as there was little construction in Victoria at the time. It is an example of Streamline Moderne design which replaced the more elaborate Art Deco style. Streamline Moderne "reflected a shift from traditional architecture styles towards modernism."

Until 1960 it served was the office for The City Brokerage, a real-estate and insurance business dating back to 1906. More recently it is the location of one of B.C.'s oldest family-owned optical businesses, Maycock Optical, established in 1949.

Character defining elements: concrete construction with impressed speed-striping on the front facade, curved plate glass storefront windows and the curved walls of the recessed central entry.

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#2 Holden West

Holden West

    Va va voom!

  • Member
  • 9,058 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 02:03 PM

See the photos here:

http://www.canada.co... ... a55c2404de
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#3 Oxford Sutherland

Oxford Sutherland
  • Member
  • 522 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 02:22 PM

Madoff wants three additional buildings added to the list, including the Royal Bank Building at the corner of Douglas and Yates streets. But Barber cautioned that a developer is in discussion with the city on plans for the property


Anyone know more about these plans?

#4 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 12,749 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 02:39 PM

That is news to me. Which is the Royal Bank building North West or South West corner?

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#5 Ms. B. Havin

Ms. B. Havin
  • Member
  • 5,052 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 02:54 PM

It has to be the small building at the SW corner, btw Shoppers Drug Mart and A&B Sound, which was built as a bank, although I'm blanking out on whether it's still used by one in any way. The SE corner is Bank of Montreal (formerly Merchants Bank) and the NE corner is Scotiabank. That leaves the NW corner (Mac's or whatever), and it was never a bank.

The SW corner building is kind of roughed-up. I think it used to have black granite metre-high trim around the base or something like that, but now it's just black paint. Looks tacky, there's scarring on the front from where signs used to be attached but were removed, and all sorts of ugly little details like that.

Boy, I would love to know more about any "plans" for that sad-looking corner...
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#6 Holden West

Holden West

    Va va voom!

  • Member
  • 9,058 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:44 PM

That's a mistake by the T/C. The bank they're talking about is the Royal Bank on the corner of Pandora and Douglas across from City Hall.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#7 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 12,749 posts

Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:48 PM

Too bad Yates and Douglas needs to be spruced up...

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#8 Holden West

Holden West

    Va va voom!

  • Member
  • 9,058 posts

Posted 13 October 2006 - 04:35 AM

Saving tomorrow's heritage

Times Colonist
Published: Friday, October 13, 2006

If it's true that a community doesn't realize what it's got until it's gone, then Victoria's efforts to save some prime examples of post-war architecture are coming not a moment too soon.

The city has identified eight downtown buildings that have heritage significance, even though they are relative youngsters. They went up between 1945 and 1975, an era that has been taken for granted as we rush to preserve the buildings from an earlier time.

Some of these buildings were built to replace much older ones that were not appreciated at the time. It wasn't until they had disappeared that we starting worrying about their loss.

Coun. Pam Madoff is right when she says we were not concerned about Victorian buildings until the 1960s and 1970s. By that time, most had disappeared or fallen into such disrepair that many people felt relief to see them go.

Many of those buildings vanished when they were no older then than the ones that went up just after the Second World War are today.

Being on the heritage registry offers no protection from demolition or alteration.

Protection comes when a building is designated as historical. The city is liable for any change in market value as a result of heritage designation, so it seeks owners' consent for designation.

The city's work won't be finished when it deals with those eight buildings, which include the Odeon Theatre and the old post office building on Government Street. Buildings outside the downtown core should be considered, too. And heritage is a moving target, shifting with the passage of time.

Beyond that, we need to expand our thinking about what a heritage structure can be. Consider, for example, those days before drive-through restaurants, when we had drive-in ones. We would pull into a spot and turn on our lights to let the waitress (it was always a waitress) know that we were ready to order.

A few minutes later she would bring out the food on a tray that clipped onto our car's window.

Those drive-in restaurants have disappeared from Victoria. Before the last one went, though, did anyone suggest that a vital part of our heritage and culture was going with it? That's doubtful.

But that's the way it has always been with heritage structures. Until they're gone, we don't realize what their loss would mean to our community.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#9 Holden West

Holden West

    Va va voom!

  • Member
  • 9,058 posts

Posted 13 October 2006 - 04:47 AM

BTW, on several places on the T/C's website it makes reference to a place called "British Colombia":

Today in the Times Colonist

British Colombia
Page b03


http://www.canada.co... ... h Colombia


I wasn't aware such a place existed, now or in history. I'm not even aware the British ever colonized Colombia or any significant part of South America. I commend the Times Colonist for shedding light on this apparently previously unknown aspect of the history of the Southern Hemisphere.

Bravo! :smt038
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#10 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 12,749 posts

Posted 13 October 2006 - 06:27 AM

HAHAHA

Now at the Empress Tea Service!

Cucumber Sandwiches
Darjeeling Tea
Scones
Rails of British Colombian coke

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#11 Ms. B. Havin

Ms. B. Havin
  • Member
  • 5,052 posts

Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:08 AM

G-Man, that's brilliant! :smt043
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#12 aastra

aastra
  • Member
  • 14,706 posts

Posted 13 October 2006 - 09:05 AM

I once knew a highly paid PR person (from Ontario) who regularly "corrected" British Columbia as British "Colombia". Just terrible.

Google any of these:

Blanchard Street
Bushart Gardens
British Colombia

#13 Lover Fighter

Lover Fighter
  • Member
  • 653 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:18 PM

I was initially kind of upset when I saw they were trying to save post-war buildings when there are so many pre-war buildings that are in need of restorations / recognition. But after I read the list of buildings considered I realized they were all deserving of protection themselves, except maybe the Bank of Toronto Building which I don't think is even close to being a significant example of modern architecture.

Oh, and I hope to god they aren't referring to the bank across the street from City Hall, that is one of the first buildings that comes to mind when I think of buildings that need to be torn down in order to help renew the downtown core.

#14 Oxford Sutherland

Oxford Sutherland
  • Member
  • 522 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:41 PM

900-920 Douglas Street needs to go

Doesn't Westbank already own this building?

#15 Lover Fighter

Lover Fighter
  • Member
  • 653 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:49 PM

900-920 Douglas Street needs to go

Doesn't Westbank already own this building?

Is that the Di Castri building? If so then I disagree, I wouldn't want to see the building torn down. Instead, I wouldn't mind seeing the back 3/4 or so of the building gutted out and a residential midrise rising from there, leaving the old facade. There could still be retail tenants on the groundfloor of the tower, acessed from Douglas using the old storefronts, and residential access could be from Courtney.

#16 Scaper

Scaper
  • Member
  • 1,262 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:50 PM

Yes, I have heard rumors and thoughts of their plans for this....though it's nothing spectactular or bold. Maybe they realize this would be too contentious to fight for.

Though word has it that the Church next door wants to them to build high. The church has stated that they need meeting rooms and would like to have some space to rent if they developed a larger building.

#17 aastra

aastra
  • Member
  • 14,706 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:53 PM

Really? I'd prefer to see something really slick in the 8-story range.

#18 Scaper

Scaper
  • Member
  • 1,262 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:56 PM

NOPE. I believe it's going to be the same height it is now. though this is just an early hear say. Though I wouldn't hold my breathe for anything even up to three stories.

WestBank's next large project will be for the Crystal Court motel site.

#19 Oxford Sutherland

Oxford Sutherland
  • Member
  • 522 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 08:03 PM

ummm....it's 1 floor right now, how can they redevelop it into the same height?

#20 Scaper

Scaper
  • Member
  • 1,262 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 08:28 PM

It's one floor but the top of the building the white portion is basically the height of a second floor. What I heard is they will change the building a bit. Maybe a few feet taller but nothing drastic.

You're not quite at the end of this discussion topic!

Use the page links at the lower-left to go to the next page to read additional posts.
 



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users