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Modernist Buildings


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#21 Holden West

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 08:39 PM

Developers are funny. Westbank has huge projects on the go including Living Shangri-La yet they want to fiddle around with a little two-storey that virtually no-one wants to see demolished, meanwhile legitimate eyesores are sitting for decades begging to be redeveloped.
"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

#22 renthefinn

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 07:10 PM

They need some hurdles for newbies in the company to overcome and prove their worth, if they can make money as well, all the better, if they break even not bad, if they lose a little, you gotta keep an eye on them and maybe not give them any of their own projects for a while, if they lose lot's and don't succeed in getting anything accomplished, maybe it's time to look at why you hired them in the first place. I don't know just trying to rationalize it.

#23 Number Six

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 08:58 PM

I'm not sure if anyone has seen a photo of the building that was at 900-920 Douglas Street *before* the Di Castri building so here it is. It was the home to the original Union Club, before the club on Gordon Street was built in 1912. It was a fine looking building but well-known for being rat infested as it was next to a stables. Supposedly clubbing rats in the kitchen was a favourite past-time of club members (no pun intended) 100 years ago. The full caption reads "Members of the Union Club on its steps; northwest corner of Courtenay and Douglas Streets"



#24 aastra

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 09:03 PM

Add that to the list of beauties this city has lost.

And the crazy thing is, not a one of them was replaced by a skyscraper or a convention centre or some such megaproject. They were all replaced by small, ordinary little buildings.

#25 Number Six

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 09:28 PM

I just added my vote, and a photo, of what I think is the the finest building the city lost in the race to modernize. I posted it in the "some long gone greats" thread.

#26 FunkyMunky

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 10:50 PM

900-920 Douglas Street needs to go.

Is that the Di Castri building? If so then I disagree, I wouldn't want to see the building torn down.

This is the Ballantyne's Florists building from 1954 by [url=http://www.maltwood.uvic.ca/Architecture/ma/design_story/architects/dicastri.html:33fa5]John Di Castri[/url:33fa5] (His obituary can be found [url=http://aolnetscape.workopolis.com/servlet/Content/qprinter/20050922/OBDICASTRI22:33fa5]here[/url:33fa5]). I met him a couple of times before his death last year and I have a soft spot for him and his work.



If we slapped a couple of dormers on it, Ox, would you change your mind?

#27 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:29 PM

If we slapped a couple of dormers on it, Ox, would you change your mind?


Do you think I'm obsessed with dormers or something?

#28 G-Man

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 10:02 AM

I don't want that building torn down just blow out the middle and keep the frontage the same. A cool ten storey office inspired by the first floor would be a great addition to downtown.

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

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#29 Caramia

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 11:14 AM

Here is a web project created by the Maltwood Museum about Victoria's Modernist treasures.

Enjoy!

http://www.maltwood....Architecture/ma
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#30 Holden West

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 11:20 AM

^Thanks! A few of us have already combed that site for nuggets of historical info and rare photos but I highly recommend newcomers explore that site to find out about an often overlooked aspect of Victoria's architectural history.
"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

#31 Caramia

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 12:59 PM

At risk of presenting another site you've already seen, here is the site I was really looking for... the BC Momo site. It deals with modernist buildings throughout BC rather than just the Victoria example, but it has lots of specific buildings and good information.

http://www.docomomobc.org

My apologies if it is a repost.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#32 FunkyMunky

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 01:12 PM

If we slapped a couple of dormers on it, Ox, would you change your mind?

Do you think I'm obsessed with dormers or something?

No, but they managed to mollify you when we discussed the Windsor Park Pavillion. I thought it was worth a try since you seem to like it 'old school' as the kids now say. LOL

#33 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 01:36 PM

If we slapped a couple of dormers on it, Ox, would you change your mind?

Do you think I'm obsessed with dormers or something?

No, but they managed to mollify you when we discussed the Windsor Park Pavillion. I thought it was worth a try since you seem to like it 'old school' as the kids now say. LOL



I "like it old school" yet I'm the only one suggesting that a NEW building be built?

#34 G-Man

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 02:32 PM

A cool ten storey office inspired by the first floor would be a great addition to downtown.


I did too!

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

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#35 Doc Sage

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 05:31 PM

[quote name='"Oxford Sutherland"']900-920 Douglas Street needs to go

I like that building but again I am a modernist at heart. I do see keeping the front third and building behind with access from the side street.

Doc Sage

#36 Holden West

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:05 AM

I love this little motel. Why are property taxes rising so high it's putting small operations at risk? It's as if the more taxpayers come to Victoria the more it costs us.

0000000000000000000000

Pioneer rode the Surf
Peter Mangelsen's little motel became a landmark on Victoria's waterfront


Katherine Dedyna
Times Colonist

Friday, October 27, 2006




CREDIT: Debra Brash, Bruce Stotesbury
Times Colonist / Randy Mangelsen and Faye Rowley grew up watching their father Peter run the Surf Motel, a landmark along the Dallas Road waterfront.


Alice and Peter Mangelsen began their long lives together on southern Saskatchewan farmland, but they ended up building and running one of the signature sights on Victoria's waterfront: the Surf Motel.

Just short of 65 years of marriage, the loving, low-key couple recently died -- Peter on Oct. 8 at 95 and Alice on June 23 at 89, leaving behind an architectural legacy opposite the Ogden Point breakwater that's still in the family. For now.

It's only 14 glass-fronted units, plain and simple, with 14 metal-rail balconies facing the water, a small parking lot and a vintage sign. But there's something distinctly fetching about the Surf.

Victoria architect Bob Siddall, who designed the 1960 landmark in the International style of the times, can attest to that. Over the years, he has had as many comments and inquiries about this little place as he has had for his vastly more prestigious commission for the McPherson Library at UVic.

"It turned out to be a remarkably clean and tidy design," says Siddall, delighted that people still like the way it looks.

He also remembers the Mangelsens: "They were just nice, quiet, honest people." There was nothing flamboyant about them or their motel. But the Surf brought in customers from all over the world, many of them repeat clients .

"My dad built this place in six months with two carpenters," recalls son Randy, now the owner. "I think it was about $100,000 to build in 1960."

The prudent Peter wasn't convinced this tourism thing would fly. So he built the Surf with kitchenettes, little hallway cupboards for bottled milk and tenant-style mailboxes just in case he had to convert it to bachelor apartments. Some units still have chenille bedspreads.

"He put his heart into everything he did and mom did, too," adds their daughter Faye Rowley, a Victoria retiree. "She was the one behind the desk. Dad was the one who took the money to the bank."

It's a good thing it worked out that way. If not for Alice's self-taught business skills and ability to extract cash in the era before credit cards, the motel might have gone under because Peter found it easier to offer people money if needed, rather than ask to be paid, Randy says.

In 1960, the room rate was $8 a night; last summer it was $130.

When it opened, there wasn't enough furniture, so the family would lug the few TVs from room to room depending on vacancies.

Once, singer Patti Page (How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?) checked in. Overhearing her warble, her dad remarked: "Boy, can that woman in Room A ever sing," Faye recalls.

Peter and Alice ran the motel together until the mid-'70s, with Alice keeping her hand in until the early 1990s. They handed it over to Randy and his wife, Jana, and moved to Deep Cove for 30 years. Far from summers slogging on the harvest, they were able to winter in the Caribbean for about 25 years thanks to their success with the Surf.

Her parents were "joined at the hip," says Faye. They met in the 1930s when they lived on neighbouring farms in Maryfield, Sask. She was born Alice Hitchcock in 1917, one of six kids. He was born in 1910 in Plympton, Man., one of seven.

"There wasn't anything my father couldn't do," says Faye, noting that at 15, he herded his family's cows to northern Saskatchewan for feed and stayed with them all winter by himself in a granary.

Alice was just as hardworking. "Just before I was born, she was out driving a tractor, helping dad," Faye recalls. Peter had his whimsical side about farming. He believed in planting and harvesting with the flux of the moon, which had the other farmers scratching their heads. But when they saw his results, they followed suit.

After the Saskatchewan harvest, Peter would drive to the coast to find work in the Cowichan forests and also helped build Liberty ships during the Second World War in Victoria.

One day around 1950, he noticed an empty lot at Dallas and Oswego. It had been inherited by two sisters in England who had never seen it. Peter went to a real estate office and negotiated to take it off their hands for about $3,500. Property on Dallas Road was a hard sell in those days because it was so cold, Randy recalls.

Times have changed.

"The only way this will get out of our grasp is with property taxes,'' says Randy,

He and Jana aren't sure how long the place will stay in business. Last year, property taxes topped $35,000, and at one point were slated to go to $50,000. The couple appealed that. But increases of roughly $5,000 a year don't bode well.

"We want to keep it as long as we can, but at $100,000 (in property tax), it certainly wouldn't make sense to have 14 units,'' says Randy. He has already been approached by a developer talking up the idea of a $16-million condo on the Surf and adjoining property.

That would include the site of the house behind the Surf that Peter built in 1952, where family members lived until a few years ago. When Faye was growing up, the family wintered in Victoria, and worked the farm in the summer. In 1958, they sold the farm and decided to make a living on the coast.

Peter was a self-taught builder who had already constructed a house and three cabins in Cowichan, where Alice felt hemmed in by the woods. So they chose to build a motel in Victoria.

Randy sees his father as a tourism pioneer, getting into the business for ordinary travellers at a time when visitors were sent all the way to Sooke when Victoria was full. "My mom used to put them in the storage room," he recalls.

The Surf was the first listing when the first B.C. Accommodation Guide came out, received a positive citation in Conde Nast Traveler and is included in Exploring Victoria's Architecture, which calls it "one of Victoria's best preserved modern buildings in the International style, combining Mies van der Rohe's minimalist design aesthetic with a studied rational use of industrial building technologies.''

"A lot of people think the building is cheap, but that is the style," says Randy, who hired staffers to run the Surf a few years ago after many years of overnight on-call duty.

Local historian John Adams has always been intrigued by the Surf.

"It's been a landmark for a long time," says Adams, but one without the gingerbread trim associated with 'Victorian' James Bay. He sees it as a transitional building and business -- a far cry from the nearby Empress but also from the fish-packing plant, grain elevator and freighter pier at Ogden Point at the time.

"It's endured because it really hasn't changed," Adams says.

Even though Peter, who lived with Alice in Deep Cove until she died, suffered some short-term memory loss, there was one thing he never forgot: "He remembered that he built the Surf Motel," Faye says.

"They don't make people like those two anymore. They always saw the humour in stuff. They laughed instead of crying and they never cried."

The Surf reopens Feb. 1.
© 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

#37 G-Man

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:15 AM

Perhaps they could deck it out in some retro decor and up the rate to 200 bucks a night?

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

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#38 aastra

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:11 AM

Property on Dallas Road was a hard sell in those days because it was so cold, Randy recalls.


The prudent Peter wasn't convinced this tourism thing would fly. So he built the Surf with kitchenettes, little hallway cupboards for bottled milk and tenant-style mailboxes just in case he had to convert it to bachelor apartments.



#39 Doc Sage

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:38 PM

G man, your recommendation would work very well and would give a chance for this small piece of history to survive.

Doc Sage

#40 G-Man

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 06:15 PM

I hope it does because I have always thought it was a great building. It is probably the only building in that stretch of Dallas Road that actually looks like it belongs there. The rest seem like you would find them on a quiet street behind Hillside mall.

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

 

It has a whole new look!

 


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