Archive for the ‘McCarter and Nairne’ Tag

900 West Pender Street (1)

The building on the left, on the corner of Hornby and West Pender, was completed in 1952; one of a number of modest new office buildings that were constructed in this part of Downtown in the years following the end of the war. It was developed by the Yorkshire Trust, a UK based organization when it was founded, which built a portfolio of investment properties in the city. This 1952 office was designed by McCarter and Nairne. The site was once the soda water manufacturing premises of Cross and Co, in the early 20th century, and in 1909 was vacant, and a year later the City Produce & Dairy Co Ltd were here.

The adjacent building was older, and a low cost hotel, the 43 room Midtown. In 1909 this was listed as a ‘new building’, which a year later were identified as the Benge furnished rooms with the Benge Café was downstairs. Later they were listed as the Benge Apartments, and by 1930 the Benge Rooms. When they opened John W Pattison was running the rooms, but Fred Fuller developed the $24,000 project; hiring Parr and Fee to design it, although Mr. Pattison almost certainly named the building.

We saw John’s later business, a car dealership, in an earlier post. John was married in 1909 to Eva Brown, a widow, born in Govenor, New York. In 1911 John and Eva were living with their sons, James and Gordon Benge, listed as aged 15 and 14. Although we haven’t been able to trace the marriage, we’re pretty confident that Eva previously married a Mr. Benge, and had two sons before being widowed and marrying John Pattison. Gordon Benge, born in 1897 in Govenor, New York, was drafted into the US Army in Minneapolis in 1917, and died in King County (Seattle) in 1972. James Benge, born a year later in New York was resident in Minneapolis in 1940. John appears to have named the apartments after his wife’s first husband.

The building in 1974 when this picture was taken also included the Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, One Hour Martinizing, and Principal Trust. One Hour Martinizing was pioneered by a New York chemist named Henry Martin in 1949. At the time, dry cleaning was done with flammable solvents, so the cleaning was dropped off at a storefront and then transported to the cleaning facility, and returned a few days later days later for pickup. By using Martin’s non-flammable solvent, dry cleaning plants could be located much more conveniently, and the process could be carried out in a much more timely manner.

Today this is part of the office occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Initially we think it was developed by Montreal Trust.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-312

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Posted November 23, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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300 West Hastings Street

We saw the Inns of Court building that once stood here in an earlier post. From the 1890s offices for lawyers were here because the Courthouse was next door – where today the park of Victory Square is located. When we posted the Inns of Court comparison, the ‘after’ shot showed the 1950 Bank of Commerce designed by McCarter Nairne – one of the earliest modernist structures in the city. At the time it was one of a number of buildings occupied by the Vancouver Film School, and it’s seen here at the end of 2014, not long before it was demolished, and below in 1981.

It was replaced earlier this year with a rental residential building developed by Simon Fraser University, with a floor of educational space and a café on the main floor. Designed by Raymond Letkeman Architects, it used a hybrid construction method of concrete frame for the lower floors and woodframe for the upper residential floors, all clad in brick.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 779-E11.20.

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Posted November 20, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gone, Victory Square

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Kenmore Apartments – Gilford Street

The Kenmore Apartments have been on the 1000 block of Gilford, in the West End, for over 90 years. The building was designed by McCarter and Nairne, better known for their commercial buildings (including the Marine Building) than residential projects. The building was supposedly completed in 1926, and has 32 rental apartments. This 1943 Vancouver Public Library image suggests the stucco didn’t perform too well on what was a relatively new building, and since then the cornice (which was never tremendously prominent) has been lost.

During the 1950s Malcolm Lowry and his wife Margerie would winter here, when it was too uncomfortable to live in his squatter shack on the North Shore. The proximity of the bar of the Hotel  Sylvia was no doubt an attraction. The Kenmore was also home to Colonel E S Davidson, a retired widower in his 80s and owner of Tippie, a Yorkshire terrier who got her own obituary in the local newspaper when she died in 1940, aged 19. There’s more about the Colonel (and Tippie) on westendvancouver.

There was a house here before the apartments were developed. It was addressed as 1900 Comox, and completed around 1906 when J A McCrossan was the first occupant, described as an ‘inspector’ in 1906 (actually he was the city’s electrical inspector), and manager of  B C Dental Supply Co in 1908. This was apparently a short-lived move; In 1907, he had resigned his position as the city electrician so that he could become manager of the new company. It appears that he reconsidered this approach, because after 1909 he continued to be the city electrician for another four years. There’s more on him, also at westendvancouver.

The first time The Kenmore appears in a street directory was in 1928, so there seems to have been a delay in completion. Even at that point twelve of the apartments were vacant. The agents for leasing the building were Macaulay Nicolls Maitland & Co Ltd. Today there’s never a problem in filling a vacancy.

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Posted March 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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YMCA – Burrard Street

YMCA Burrard

The Burrard Street YMCA looks as good today as it did when it was built in 1940. That’s because it’s a restored façade with a new structure behind it, and a child care on the top. We saw a glimpse of the building in an earlier post. Fortunately, when it came to redeveloping the building a few years ago there was a natural break in the Barclay Street frontage that allowed the residential tower and new gym and swimming pool to fit in behind without overwhelming the retained brick building. Our ‘before’ image is from 1981, and the building was already starting to show its age. By the early 2000s there was a definite need to renew, and ideally replace the building’s facilities.

The 1940 building was at least the third YMCA in the city and was designed by McCarter & Nairne, ten years after their Marine Building. The ‘Y’ was a much more modest building, but one that still had some robust moderne modeling within the limited budget. In 2003 Stantec Architects (and subsequently Endall Elliot) designed the replacement which had slightly less space for the YMCA than the original, but includes a pool, gymnasium, racquet courts, health studios, support facilities, and also a licensed Child Day Care Facility, including a family and child development centre, on the fifth and sixth floors. Concert Properties built the 42 floor project and sold the residential tower above, named ‘Patina’.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W18.13

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Posted August 31, 2015 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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Burrard Street from Dunsmuir

Georgia from Dunsmuir

We’re looking across the street, almost due south from Dunsmuir Street. It’s 1981, and work is starting on the site hoardings for Daon Development Corporation’s Park Place office tower. It will be big; taking the developable floorspace from Christ Church (on the site next door) allowing a restoration of the cathedral while preserving and enhancing the surrounding are with a park and water feature. To the left of the third Hotel Vancouver is the back of the Georgia Medical Dental Building. Initially the plans for spending some of the $17m involved some quite contemporary changes designed by Busby Bridger (including a glass roof), but ultimately the historic structure remained unchanged.

The Medical Dental building was a McCarter and Nairne designed art deco fifteen storey office building completed in 1929. It was the first office building to include a parking garage, and was full of physicians and dentists. Interestingly, the 1930 street directory showed there were a few other tenants besides over 150 doctors – the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Dentists each had their offices there, but there was also the International Club of Vancouver, the BC Dental Supply Co and both clinical and x-ray labs.

The website for its replacement says “opened in 1991, Cathedral Place was developed through a joint venture with Sir Run Run Shaw of Hong Kong under the company name of Shon Georgia Investments Ltd. With the formation of this new corporate group, Mr. Shon saw an opportunity to realize a long-time dream of his father, Charles Shon, to redevelop the Georgia Medical-Dental Building site creating an enduring architectural landmark. The celebrated and respected architect, Paul Merrick, was asked to head the design team. The office Tower is now known as Shaw Tower at Cathedral Place.” Given the more recent completion of an entirely different tower called the Shaw Tower, it’s no surprise that the replacement is generally known as Cathedral Place. The office is still owned by Shon Group Realty.

Early versions of the scheme were designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore Owings Merrill of Chicago. Heritage Vancouver’s newsletter at the time described it as having “a kind of 1920s or 1930s stepped back Skyscraper Gothic style“, which is pretty much what the Merrick design has as well.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 779-W04.35

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Posted November 3, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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400 Burrard Street

400 Burrard 1

Here’s the south-east corner of Burrard and West Hastings (looking east) in 1974. The simple, modern looking 2-storey building was occupied by the Bank of British Columbia. We’re reasonably sure this was a McCarter and Nairne design from 1949 for Burrard Building Operations Ltd. In 1952 it was called the Burrard Building (the name was moved once the new much bigger building was completed a few years later to the south). The early tenants included stock brokers and insurance companies, including the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. The bank show occupying the building in 1974 was the second business with that name, and they were entirely unrelated. The first bank premises are still standing, and we featured them earlier in the life of this blog. The second bank was the creation of W A C Bennett in 1966, designed to allow more local control for making decisions on loans to BC businesses. By the mid 1980s there were $2.7bn in funds and over 1,400 employees, but serious management problems led to the bank being absorbed in 1986 by the Hong Kong Bank of Canada (today’s HSBC).

Across the lane to the south the edge of the first Bentall Building can be seen – a five-storey concrete building that was the first substantial office to be built in the city after the Second World War, in the early 1950s. It was almost certainly designed by Bentall’s Dominion Construction, probably with input from Charles Bentall.

Today it’s Commerce Place, a silver reflective office complex designed by Waisman Dewar Grout Carter and completed 30 years ago.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 778-15

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701 Main Street

Main & Georgia

We’re got used to gas stations closing over the past few years, but it’s not a new phenomenon. This Standard gas bar was closed nearly 70 years ago. It was also not the first building on the site – in fact it wasn’t even the second. In 1912 the Avenue Theatre replaced two cottages on this site, but in 1935 this Standard Oil gas station was listed in the street directory. Standard Oil of Califonia entered the Canadian market in 1935 when Standard Oil Co. of British Columbia was launched in a two-room suite of the Hotel Vancouver. That same year the company expanded quickly by purchasing local oil distribution companies, acquiring service stations, establishing dealerships, starting a new refinery and acquiring a tanker, the B.C. Standard. Townley and Metheson designed several gas stations for the company in their first year, and this is listed as one of their projects, station #2.

Like the theatre, the gas station didn’t last very long. By 1945 the BC Electric Company had acquired the site for a new sub-station that was named after the company’s President, W G Murrin. The power distributed from Murrin supplied the entire downtown area and for many years there was a smaller adjacent building that fed power to the city’s electric trolley buses.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives, photographer Walter E Frost, CVA 447-47

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