550 Hamilton Street

We looked for an image of this building when it was first developed, and drew a complete blank. There are several views of the back, but nothing that we could find shows the street facade. This was taken in 1974, and the building was redeveloped not much later, but it was built as the offices of the Vancouver School Board in 1910 for $40,000, with an additional floor added in 1912 costing $18,000. The Board’s Architect, Norman Leech, designed the original building.

It was rebuilt and repurposed when it became home to the Vancouver School of Art. That had operated on the same block in the old High School, but moved here in 1952, when artist and instructor Bruno Bobek designed the mural integrated into the entrance to the building.

In 1977 an initial $10m was approved towards the $100m estimated to be needed to acquire this site from the Vocational Institute, and build a new building to allow the Art School to move to a new location. It moved to new premises on Granville Island in 1978 allowing the site to be redeveloped as part of Vancouver Community College.

The mirrored replacement, and addition to the heritage 1948 building to the north was completed in 1982. The glazing quality is much better than many other reflective buildings, and shows the Del Mar Inn on the opposite side of Hamilton, with the low-rise BC Hydro building on the left and the clock in the open space that replaced 569 Hamilton on the right. The BC Hydro tower built in 1992 is behind, built on the site of the Alcazar Hotel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-108



Posted 13 February 2023 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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