Archive for the ‘Sharp Thompson Berwick Pratt’ Tag

West Georgia and Broughton Street

This view westwards was taken by Ernie Reksten in 1965, mid-block in the 1400 block, looking at the buildings on the south side of West Georgia. On the far side of Broughton is the Georgian Towers hotel, dating back to 1955. Designed by Sharp, Thompson, Berwick and Pratt, and built by Marwell Construction, it replaced houses that were first developed on the site, overlooking Burrard’s Inlet. The tower started life in 1955 as a rental apartment building before being converted to a hotel in 1958. In the late 1970s it became apartments once again, and the adjacent parking lot closer to us saw a strata tower developed, ‘The George’, completed in 2002. Plans have recently been submitted to replace the seismically challenged 1955 building with a 49 storey tower that will replace the 162 rental units on the lower floors and add an additional 193 strata units.

Closer to us, on the east side of Broughton were the ‘Majestic Apartments’, developed around 1908, and designed by H B Watson. He was hired by contractor and investor J J Dissette. It was a classy building in its earlier days; one of its first tenants was Thomas Spencer, son of retail impresario David Spencer, and manager of the family’s Hastings Street store. A couple of years later Archie Barnes Martin, the managing director of Pacific Mills was in Number 5, and in the mid 1920s Samuel Emanuels, an auctioneer, notary public and for a while the Brazilian vice-consul lived in Number 6.

By the mid 1950s there were still 15 tenants living in the apartments, including Eileen Burden, secretary at Pemberton Insurance, Robert Adamson, an immigration officer, Ronald Woods, a manager with the Hudson’s Bay Company, who shared a suite with Frederick Woods, janitor with radio station CBUT and his wife Kathleen, proprietor of Kay’s Fabrics. John Whelan, a waiter at the Drake Hotel beer parlour was in Number 4, and Marion Watmough, a bookkeeper with BC Equipment at Number 11. There were several other retired and widowed tenants, Constance Lobeck who operated the elevator at the Hotel Vancouver and George Luchuk, director of the Arcade Whist Club.

The entire block was redeveloped in 1999 with a Chinese backed pair of condos, designed by IBI, called ‘The Lions’. On the part of the site where the Majestic stood, the project includes a small commercial component, with recessed retail stores along West Georgia.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2010-006.022

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Vancouver Community College – Dunsmuir Street

The Downtown campus of the Vancouver Community College started life as the Vancouver Vocational Institute, designed by a leading local architectural firm of the day, Sharp Thompson Berwick and Pratt. It was one of the earliest examples of the International Style in Vancouver, and the Pender Street façade is still looking much as when Bob Berwick designed it in 1948.

Here on Dunsmuir Street the façade of the building is quite different from our 1974 ‘before’ image. A 1983 expansion added a new larger structure, and reclad the street wall with reflective glazing. Today the whole building is a heritage structure, although it’s unlikely that redevelopment of this heavily altered element would raise many objections.

The Community College was built on the site of the 1892 High School, which in turn was re-purposed as the city’s Art School in the 1930s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-68

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YWCA – Burrard and Dunsmuir (2)

We saw an earlier version of a YWCA building in this location in an earlier post. This later building was much bigger; and didn’t really last very long. We think our picture dates from the late 1970s or possibly early ’80s. The low-rise part of the building here dated back to 1951 and was designed by Sharp, Thompson, Berwick, Pratt, while the residential tower was added over a podium with a pool and gym, designed by Vladimir Plavsic & Associates and completed in 1969. In 1995 there was replacement YWCA hotel on Beatty Street, and a new YWCA (designed in-house by Bentall’s Charles Bentall Architects) on Hornby Street. Two years later the old YWCA building seen here was imploded.

After a few years delay the site became part of Bentall Five, a new office tower built in two phases – the top 11 floors were completed in 2007, three years after the first 22 (when sufficient tenants had been found to make the additional space a viable scheme). To enable the phased construction to occur, a staging area had to be retained, and that’s where Musson Cattell Mackey’s Cactus Club Café was built once their design for the office tower was complete.

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Posted August 28, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Bank of Ottawa – West Hastings Street

Here’s the Bank of Ottawa on the corner of Seymour and West Hastings in 1912. The new eight storey building was designed by W Marbury Somervell, but probably slightly changed by Somervell and Putnam (as it has a 1911 building permit in their name). It cost $225,000, and pictures of the construction show a reinforced concrete frame rather than all steel. The building bears a very strong resemblance to the BC Securities Building which is three blocks away and completed a year later to HS Griffith’s design.

The speed that construction could be completed on commercial buildings can be seen from the Contract Record report of September 1910. Work was just starting on the building site, clearing the existing buildings and excavating the basement, and it was expected the whole thing would be complete by May 1911, with occupancy coming a month later. There were 16 offices per floor above the banking floor, and the quality of the building was obviously aimed at all the other office buildings competing for tenants “The entrance to the vestibule and lobby will be handsomely done in marble, while the floors above will be trimmed throughout in birch and finished with mahogany. Other features of this latest addition to Vancouver’s tall buildings will be a vacuum heating system throughout, hot and cold water in all the offices, the Durham plumbing system, mail chute equipment, vacuum cleaning system for all the offices, and commodious toilet rooms on every floor.” The successful contracting bid came from McDonald and Wilson who started work in October 1910 and as far as we know completed on time.

In 1919 the Bank of Ottawa were merged with the Bank of Nova Scotia, and it stayed a branch of the new owners for over 30 years. In 1956 noted local architects Sharp, Thompson, Berwick and Pratt were given the design job of enlarging the bank building. The new project stripped the old building to its frame, replaced the small tobacco store with the billiards room behind (The Maple Leaf Club in 1946) that was next door and the restaurant with rooms over beyond that, and created a simple new office building which was nearly twice the size of the original. A more recent building upgrade in 1987 added an elegant projecting metal cornice to the building.

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