Archive for the ‘B Renke’ Tag

Phillips Building – Melville Street

This 1960 Office building is the one we chose for the cover of The Changing City, a book we wrote over a decade ago. It’s known today as the Wyland Building, but when it was developed it was the Phillips Building. Today there’s another Phillips Building, not far away, developed in 1965. The newspapers said the building was designed by Hollingsworth & Birmingham, although a 1962 RAICS Jounal said it was B Renke, and the developer was described in the Province as being “John Phillips, former Calgary and Texas oilman.” We’ve tried to find a Calgary oilman called John Phillips who might have developed an office building in Vancouver, and come up short. A John Phillips had been involved in an earlier project in the city developing a West End apartment building in 1954.

The Vancouver Sun reported on the million-dollar investment, and its new tenants, B.C. Forest Products. On July 3 a $3,000,000 destroyed the sawmill and offices of the business. By 5pm the following day “four floors in the new Phillips Building at 1190 Melville had been arranged, just a pulse beat from the city’s heart. That Monday was a July 4 to remember for John Phillips, a former resident of Texas. He had built the ultra-modern office block as a speculative venture. All seven floors had been vacant since February. But by nightfall he had leased all floors, at a total annual rental of about $150,000. It was an odd coincidence, but the same day MacMillan, Bloedel and Powell River Co. had agreed to take over the top three floors.”

The name change came in 1985, just after when we assume the new glazing was installed. That year the US artist Robert Wyland painted a 12,000 sq. ft. mural on the side of the building, using 153 gallons of General Paint’s exterior latex, applied with a spray gun. The top of the picture is still visible above the townhouses on the condo tower built next door, but the orcas that were the subject of the mural have been hidden. We don’t know how long a 60-year-old modest class B office building can survive in a neighbourhood of tall residential and commercial towers, but for now the mirrored facade offers a reflection of the heritage Stadacona apartments across the street, and the Ritz condo tower beside it.

Image source: Jewish Museum LF.01597



Posted 15 December 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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