8/18/08

Where did you go, DOCOMOMOBC?

A reader, Jennifer commented on lack of a resource for fans of local mid-century modern architecture in Vancouver - you can read the original comment here. Prompted by her comment, I scooted over to DocomomoBC, and, as if by design, poof! - it was already gone.

It was up just a week or so beforehand. Whatever happened?

In particular ( to Jennifer's comment) some places/resources to check out for mid-century modern architecture are AIBC, Vancouver Heritage, and, if it comes back up, DocomomoBC.


Two semi-formed general thoughts come to mind:

To begin with, I would go further - is there any one comprehensive resource for fans of architecture (in general not-at-all-specific sense) in Vancouver? There are bits and pieces scattered, but no one website to come home to. Another aspect to starting ArchitectureWanted was to document my findings in seeking out architecture in Vancouver upon my recent move here. Here in Vancouver is a wealth of modern and contemporary architecture - as much as in Toronto, and, at times, it seems even greater than in that esteemed city. But the enthusiasm is only so-so compared to that of Toronto's denizens - look they have Doors Open, Architecture Days, etc.

Secondly, preservation - that is a big one! The need to preserve iconic structures does exist, sorely so. Perhaps, it would be a little too much to extend protection to most modern homes around here. But it is disappointing to be losing not only homes by Lewis Construction and Lader Bros, but those by the likes of Duncan McNab and Arthur Erickson. Nothing is sadder than to arrive on site, full of anticipation, to see these works of architecture and to see that they have been replaced with a hole, or, better yet, a McMansion (on my map- to the right, in the sidebar - I mark these sad trips with a red pin). Although we can not preserve everything, we must at least put up a fight for some of the more crucial of our cultural artifacts.

One way to to preempt the destruction is by spreading the knowledge and appreciation for these - to actively assert architecture's place in our culture. And perhaps, others one day will see Lewis homes for what they are - simple, elegant, ever so appropriate, and, without question, valuable. I would rather see sensitive renovations and additions than demolitions. I hope that ArchitectureWanted can in some capacity also answer the call to bring attention to both architecture of Vancouver and to preservation of our architectural achievements. Perhaps, we can all do what we can to stay informed and to inform other.

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Here is a topical article on preserving our built heritage in today's Globe and Mail. Definitely worth reading.

UPDATE: Docomomo BC is back up!

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