Where is the Square? Update


The competition will start in November (exact date to be announced);
it will wrap in April;
and results will be announced in May.

So, stay tuned.

The launch event went very well, I thought - a very good turn out, I would say at least a few hundred interested folks showed up.

And the panelists were great - fun was had by all! Although I did not need to know that one of them had the honour of losing virginity in possibly most obvious of all prototypical public spaces - campo in Siena. And you didn't need to know that either, but you do now. Talk about public performance, because in Piazza del Campo it could not have been otherwise.


Merrick House

In contrast to "whimsy" of Grace stands an imaginative house that Paul Merrick built for himself. Part tree-house (you can really feel as though you are in the tree canopy), part wooden castle, for me it embodies a flawless harmony of fantasy and high-quality execution. Although it looks chaotic in these images, it has unmistakable rigour.

It too, was part of the West Van Home tour and at the same time it was for sale - as it always is in Vancouver, somehow. Well... It is still for sale. And/or for rent as of October 10th for a small amount of $5800 per month. So there is your chance to go visit - schedule a viewing and whatnot...

Some more images:

Apparently, it has been chosen by B.C. Architectural Society as one of top 9 homes in B.C. in last 75 years; and it has received a West Van design award.

Sorry that I do not have any drawings, etc. to show. This is the exactly the kind of design that Paul Merrick can offer and has done so on many occasions, just not in case of Grace.


On Now & Competition: Where is the Square?

This is rather exciting!

Vancouver Public Space Network is launching an open design ideas competition entitled "Where is the Square?: Imagining a Public Square for Vancouver: The Grandest Gathering Space". As part of this there is a launch event and a series of three more talks as well.

September 23:
Launch Event with Cornelia Oberlander, Lance Berelowitz, Bing Thom
Alice MacKay Room
Vancouver Public Library 350 West Georgia

Competition design brief will be relesed in October.

Click here for background info.


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!):


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:


Upcoming: A City Built for Change

Professor Robert Kronenburg of Liverpool School of Architecture will lecture at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre on September 18th at 6:30pm. His lecture titled "A City Built for Change" poses a question: how can "flexible architecture" make a better Vancouver?

It is the final event of Vancouver City Planning Commission's Adaptability Ideas series.

This public lecture is free but the seating is limited. Reserve by emailing jeannie_bates@telus.net

On Now: Clip / Stamp / Fold 6

CLIP /STAMP / FOLD 6, an exhibit curated by Beatriz Colomina is on from September 12th until November 9th at the Contemporary Art Gallery. It showcases "radical architecture of little magazines" from 1960's and 1970's. The magazines were independently produced and vary depending on the location of this traveling exhibit. Adele Weder contributed the local content along with the CAG. There is also a talk component, in which architects and others respond to the exhibit:

October 2, 7 pm:
Peeroj Thakre (ph5 architecture, Urban Republic co-founder, Canadian Architect writer, director of Vancouver League for Studies in Architecture)
October 30, 7 pm:
Trevor Boddy (Architectural writer, critic, curator)
Peter Miller (Peter Miller Books)

October 14, 7pm:

Beatriz Colomina lectures at UBC Robson Square C300 Theatre.

October 15th, 7pm:

Panel discussion between Ian Chodikoff (architect, curator, writer, former ed, Canadian Architect), Bo Helliwell(Helliwell + Smith: Blue Sky Architecture) and Sherry McKay(writer & associate professor at UBC) with Joost Bakker (principal HBBH, writer) moderating. This last happening is at Inform Interiors, 50 Water Street.

Sounds like fun!
CAG is open Wednesday to Sunday 12-6 pm.


Back in a jiffy!

The blog is not dead - yet anyway. I think I have managed to dig myself out of the sand finally and will be back to posting soon - stay tuned!