Archive for the ‘Paul Merrick Architects’ Tag

Hornby Street – 900 block (2)

900 Hornby west

This 1981 corner shot is from a comprehensive survey of the city taken that year of almost all the Downtown streets. It shows the corner of Nelson Street with Hornby, and the massive bulwark base that was covered in mosaic tile, with the tower of the BC Electric Company’s headquarters rising above. Today the tower is still there, but it looks quite a bit different, The original 1957 tower was designed by Thompson, Berwick, Pratt and Partners and was the first significantly tall building south of Georgia Street. Ned Pratt was the lead architect, but Ron Thom, who had apprenticed with the company, also played a significant role and was made a partner on the building’s completion. The narrow tapered design allowed every desk to be no more than 15 feet from a window, and the blue, green and black mosaic tile patterns were designed by artist B.C. Binning. The original curtain wall of porcelain coated metal panels covered an innovative structural system of cantilevered floors supported by a central service core with slender external supports.

If the design had a flaw, it was the street frontage to Hornby which was definitely ‘back of house’. In the early 1990s the company moved on to a new headquarters, and by 1995 it had taken on a new role. The frame was stripped and re-clad (with a residential code glazing system that also allowed more light into the units, and opening windows). There are 242 residential condo units, and 100 office units. Paul Merrick Architects designed the conversion, called The Electra, and they managed to redesign the Hornby frontage, and the corner, to introduce retail units and liven up the previously dead frontage.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W07.21


Burrard Street – 1200 block, north side (1)

Here’s one of the more dramatic changed views that we’ve featured. The only thing that looks as if they’re still standing in both photographs are the street trees. In 1914 Burrard Street was barely paved (it didn’t lead to a bridge, so it wasn’t a major through route). On the right is a $18,000 ‘brick veneered’ apartment, Burrard Court, built and owned by R Y Blackhall and designed by R V Pushaw in 1911. Mr Pushaw seems to have also been a builder, but only has a handful of buildings to his credit.

The rest of the block consists of houses – relatively inexpensive ($1,000) frame dwellings built speculatively around 1902 and 1903 by (among others) J B Cawthron and A M Sharpe. You can see the homes of Reginald Marshall, George Forrest, William A Campbell, Arthur Valentine and Mrs Mary Roddick in the picture. The times were more turbulent than the picture suggests. Mrs Roddick was living with her son George and husband John in the house in 1911, but John had left by 1914 (perhaps for the war?) and George had a job with a Tire and Rubber company – aged only 15.

Further down the hill is the Winnitola Nursing Home. Today you can see the Milano (By Paul Merrick Architects), the Ellington, Carlton Court and Crystallis by Roger Hughes and Partners. And today’s picture will change soon too – a 17-storey tower designed by IBI/HB to be called ‘Modern’ has been approved to be slotted onto Burrard where the small beige Commercial Electronics store can be seen. We’re not going to list the nearly 500 people who now own or rent homes in this view. Traffic is a bit busier as well.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 1230


Posted January 18, 2012 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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