Customs House – West Pender Street

Customs House 1

We successfully lined up two images of this building. It’s another of CBK Van Norman’s buildings, built in 1955 and demolished in 1993. A solid ten-storey reinforced concrete building, it occupied an irregularly shaped site immediately to the south of the Marine Building at the junction of West Pender and Burrard Street. After various design iterations through 1949 and 1950 it was eventually completed in 1955. Aluminum framed windows alternated with granite spandrels and the composition was framed by end piers of Haddon Island stone.

Customs House 2The Federal Government decided to replace the building in the early 1990s, but the replacement building wasn’t completed until 2002. Designed by Architectura for Canada Lands and Public Works Government Services Canada, the 19 storey tower incorporates a number of energy-efficient and green building features and houses several Environment Canada activities as well as Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices. The building recycled some of the black granite from its predecessor, and the lower portion of the building along West Pender is almost a replica of the earlier structure.

It is now named after Douglas Jung, the first Canadian Member of Parliament of Asian decent (although Jung was born in Victoria). Although too late to change the decision on the Customs House, the move to demolish the building led to the creation of a Post ’40s register of buildings that can be considered for heritage status once they are 20 years old.


Posted 8 January 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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