701 Granville Street (2)

Sears Nordstrom 5

Our previous post looked at the recent changes to the retail box designed in 1973 by Cesar Pelli at Victor Gruen Associates with McCarter Nairne and Associates as local architects. The 2012 building wasn’t by any means how it looked when it was initially designed, or back in 1981 when these images were shot. Construction work was still underway adding the top floors in a McCarter Nairne design that earned it the nickname of “The Great White Urinal”. (The curved top, which was metal rather than concrete, was, when clean, quite shiny – which didn’t help).

The Howe and Robson corner (above), shows the original slot entrance; a more dramatic black and white element. The 1999 reconfiguration opened it up; the contemporary building brightens it even more. The 1999 changes on the Granville and Robson corner were more dramatic – the original design didn’t have any glazing at all; the blank concrete faced the street corner. The 1999 rework opened up the corner a bit, but today’s version is very different.

Pacific Centre 1

There was a semi-circular drum facing the plaza in front of the TD tower. When the building was completed a soaring sculpture by George Norris was installed. It was removed and donated to City of Surrey in 1988, who waited 8 years before selling it for scrap.

Sears Nordstrom 6

The upper four floors of office space have been given an entrance on the Georgia Street plaza, and named as 725 Granville. There was some doubt that the huge floorplates would find tenants – in practice the space was leased before the building work was completed. Lawyers Miller Thomson were the first to sign up, and they were joined by Sony Pictures Imageworks (who moved their entire operation from California to occupy the fifth floor) and Microsoft, who occupy over 140,000 square feet of space on the top two floors.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W02.17, CVA 779-W02.10 and CVA 779-W02.18


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