History · In The Background · urban design · Vancouver

Oh, What a Lovely View

Looking across False Creek from the West Coast Shipbuilder’s yard to downtown, this is what the shore of the creek looked like in the 1940s. The extraordinary mess on the shoreline, roughly where BC Place is today, is the debris from the Empire Box Company and various sawmill operations. (CVA photo M-7-1)  

Chinatown · History · urban design · Vancouver

Good Intent & Design Fail in Chinatown

Inserting new structures into older urban environments can be tricky. The rhythm of the street and its storefronts, sidewalk width, building height etc. all play a role in the success of any new building. But then, despite the best of intentions from the planners it fails at a certain level. The Keefer Block at the corner… Continue reading Good Intent & Design Fail in Chinatown

History · Pacific Northwest · urban design · Vancouver

It’s Quite Simple: Dump Trump

The Holborn Group’s refusal to excise the Trump name from their Georgia Street project is an insult to all residents of Vancouver. Regardless of whether it is private property, that there are contracts or operating agreements in place, Holborn is morally and ethically wrong to continue to promote the name of someone who is openly… Continue reading It’s Quite Simple: Dump Trump

Pacific Northwest · urban design · Vancouver

A Very Vancouver Building

The conceptual design for the Vancouver Art Gallery was unveiled yesterday. It’s a perfect Vancouver building. There’s no extraneous swirls or doodads ala Gehry, just a thoughtful response to the program and site. There are echoes of the architecture of coastal First Nations, the Pacific Rim (it’s almost pagoda like in some aspects) and the… Continue reading A Very Vancouver Building

History · urban design · Vancouver

Old Landmarks Going….

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation and the DVBIA unveiled the latest set of Places That Matter plaques on June 26, 2015. It was a great celebration. The five plaques focus on various aspects of the role West Hastings Street has played in the development of the city; finance, the port, parades, tourism and the early residents.… Continue reading Old Landmarks Going….

Chinatown · History · urban design · Vancouver

Shanghai Alley on a Summer Afternoon

Here’s a screen grab from the fabulous 1956 CBC film Summer Afternoon which follows two boys around Chinatown. There are many great images of a long gone landscape. In a brief segment the two are seen climbing over the gates to Canton Alley and then wander down Shanghai Alley. There are very few good images… Continue reading Shanghai Alley on a Summer Afternoon