Central Business District from above (4)

Here’s another view of Downtown from the air – this time we’re looking at 41 years of change, from 1980 to August 2021 When Trish Jewison posted the image she took from the Global BC traffic helicopter. We’re looking down on the Marine Building, with the Guinness Building alongside on the edge of an escarpment, with railtracks and freight yards to the north on the area reclaimed from the beach along Burrard Inlet.

Where there was a barge ramp 40 years before, there is now the green expanse of the roof of the Convention Centre’s west building, opened in 2009. In 1980 the first Convention Centre building had yet to be constructed.

The two towers in front of the Marine Building today are the Shaw Tower and the Fairmont Pacfic Rim Hotel, both designed by James K M Cheng and developed by Westbank in 2004 and 2010. Both have roads around them which are effectively huge bridges; underneath are the service areas and an underground road network. Those raised roads continue around the Waterfront Centre offices and Hotel, to the east, developed by CP’s Marathon Realty in 1991. Tucked in behind the Marine Building, the University Club is now the base of MNP Tower, a curved blue office tower. To the south was the Customs House by CBK Van Norman, replaced in the early 2000s with a new Federal office building.

Burrard Street runs south, in front of the Marine Building, and as we’ve noted in many posts here had modest buildings on the east side from the 1950s or earlier for many years, until Park Place and Commerce Place were both built in 1984, followed by newer towers including Bentall 5 in the 2000s. Three of the Bentall Centre towers, and the Royal Centre were already built in 1980, and the fourth, and largest, Bentall tower was completed in 1981 An additional 16 storey wood-frame tower has just been revealed, planned to replace one of the project’s parkades. Tucked in behind the Royal Centre is the Burrard Building, in 1980 in its original cladding and today with a replacement skin that looks like the architect originally intended. The more recent curtain wall technology allowed a larger glazing area than was first built, as the architect CBK Van Norman had first sketched.

This might look like an already ‘built out’ area, but there are two more office towers under construction, including the tallest built in the city, The Stack, another James Cheng design towards the top right of the image, replacing a parkade on Melville Street that hadn’t been built in 1980. At least one more already approved at 30 storeys to replace a 1970s building with 15 floors, as well as the proposed additional Bentall building, to be called Burrard Exchange.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-650 and Trish Jewison, twitter 8.8.21

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Posted 30 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

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