9/18/08

The irony of Grace

Here, today, is unusual - for this is a post about a building that made no splash in the architectural community, and yet desperately needs to be acknowledged. Today is all about Grace...

Grace is located at 499 Drake & 1280 Richards, each address representing a separate phase of the development by James Schouw and Associates. The lower portion was built in 2004, and the later was just finished. As far as I can tell the architects who have contributed are Wiens-Suzuki and Merrick Architecture.

Jamess Schouw dubbed the last phase "Habitable Art" and decked out the first one with a plaque:


Instead of writing about it further, here are the photos (sorry about the quantity - image-heavy!):

whimsy

that would be one of the graces and many of the vents
and a few unfortunately placed balconies

and a few more unfortunately placed vents

perhaps more than a few

add a few pipes here and there


oh no! they are breeding:


matching your railings is passe:

?




whimsy, vent, grille, and efflorescence

luxurious terracotta (?) tableau, 2 x siamese, and parking garage vent


and a pipe

add an exit door and a grille
back lane 

And here is a tour-de-force of a porte-cochere:

It is my favorite image of the bunch - the vent and the service post making a centerpiece - such grace!


P.S. And, to finish on a better note, here is Ron Thom's Massey College Dining Hall:

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

i really don't like this building. i am appreciative that someone tried to do something different in terms of architecture but the finishes are terrible and it could have been so much nicer on the exterior. But as you pointed out, it's not. unfortunately, i see it every day when i look out my window.

Anonymous said...

Sweet baby Jesus, Mother Mary, and Father Joseph, what were the architects thinking?

Demonstrates a complete lack of artistic and design sensibility. I'd like to see the parking garage - I'd bet that many of the cars have had the emblems gold anodized for that "little touch of class."

Anonymous said...

So what exactly were they supposed to do with the vents? They can't not have them. Well, I guess they could have less bathrooms or something. Or are you saying every Vancouver building has to be four walls of glass? Oh, and wet concrete under a planter does not a leaky condo make.

Maybe the building is crap, I haven't paid it much attention, but the fact that building code requires boatloads of vents doesn't immediately offend me.

d said...

That is terrible. I can't imagine driving into that place and seeing that centre piece.

in dream city said...

Opinions differ on condohype's post regarding this building:
http://condohype.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/the-grace-of-being-unknown/

Someone has also posted an interesting comment about Grace on condoadvisory:

http://www.condoadvisory.com/item.php?item_id=673

Anonymous said...

The first low-rise phase of this building had integrity, although grossly overpriced for space and location. After all the anticipation, the second phase was a royal disappointment, to say the least. Finishes are second-rate and the design elements are chaotic. I actually considered purchasing a unit in the low-rise four years ago and am very happy to say that I decied to shop around. I understand that the much-anticipated indoor-outdoor swimming pool has yet to be opened and that the tenants are less than pleased about that small missing detail.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver could use some GRACE as well as some people who posted their comments on this building. Have to admit, the building does not seem to belong to Vancouver skyskrape. On a blaze landscape of a heap of concrete, glass, and metal enveloped by mist, rain, and general…gray detachment, emerges this structure that embodies beauty, grace, warmth, inspiration and … imagination. It is a pity that some Vancouverites find more beauty in a “parking garages” then GRACE. I guess it is the “American Beauty” appreciation of a floating garbage bag that captures people’s attention these days…well then, as the my favorite blogger on this sight said: “Sweet baby Jesus, Mother Mary, and Father Jose”

To the writer:
Where is the irony dude?

Anonymous said...

Vancouver could use some GRACE as well as some people who posted their comments on this building. Have to admit, the building does not seem to belong to Vancouver skyskrape. On a blaze landscape of a heap of concrete, glass, and metal enveloped by mist, rain, and general…gray detachment, emerges this structure that embodies beauty, grace, warmth, inspiration and … imagination. It is a pity that some Vancouverites find more beauty in a “parking garages” then GRACE. I guess it is the “American Beauty” appreciation of a floating garbage bag that captures people’s attention these days…well then, as my favorite blogger on this sight said: “Sweet baby Jesus, Mother Mary, and Father Jose”

To the writer:
Where is the irony dude?

Jurgan Turner said...

James Schouw deserved to be commended for building this tower not put down. It seems like many comments would prefer another round of square cookie cutters slapped together as fast as possible to sell more and make more money. This building uses some of the newest technology available on the market today and some other developers are starting to follow the example set by James Schouw & Associates. I enjoy the architecture of grace, I think its nice to see somebody doing something different. Also, James Schouw donates half the profit he makes from his projects to various charitable and humanitarian causes. Anybody ever heard of ANY of Vancouver's other property developers giving half their money to charity? I didn't think so.
Way to go James, Keep building masterpieces as I'm sure you will!