Architecture
September 17, 2008

New Stuff 4 – Colour

I’ve often thought that the Australians use colour in their modern architecture so much better than we do.  (You can see examples here in Price Tags 52.) 

Some argue it was our city planners that imposed such constrained taste (or refused to push for a bolder palate); others say it was the developers who shied away from anything that might limit their product; maybe it was simply Canadian restraint.  In any event, Vancouverites got tired of the green glass that seemed compulsory in the designs of the 1990s, and we’re finally seeing some exuberance in more recent development. 

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No shortage of irony here: just as “Get Moving B.C.” is comparing us to Calgary to justify more bridges for cars, Calgary is debating the need to build more pedestrian bridges (or passerelles):

City council recently approved $25 million to design and build one pedestrian bridge and design another….  The total cost of the two bridges will be close to $40 million, perhaps $50 million, with the balance coming from sales of city-owned land in the East Village.  Santiago Calatrava, a Spaniard who is the Michelangelo of pedestrian bridge construction, is being touted as a possible architect for at least one of the bridges.

More here.

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Not complete yet – but now the primary tower has topped out:

Say what you will about the appropriatemess of a highrise in the Downtown East Side, but at least one of the worst street-end views in the city –

– has been dramatically improved.

Another nice touch by Gregory Henriquez, the architect, are these screens being attached to the Cordova Street facade:

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I really like this.

A commanding tower on a key intersection at Knight and Kingsway. And like a knight, King Edward Village is handsomely massive. Sensitive too. An architectural Hollywood hero.

The podium beautifully responds to the changing grade at this corner of the intersection.  It’s all slightly asymmetrical, but classically proportioned.

There’s a great story as to how a largely single-family neighbourhood got behind and supported this proposal.  I’d give former councillor Anne Roberts credit.   It’s not yet fully occupied, but I’d say it’s a success – from, as Martin comments, the limited viewpoint of design.

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I’ve been doing a bit of travelling this last week, mainly around the region.  In the next few days, some pics and comments on recent development.

After a meeting in Langley City today, I headed back up 200th Street to make the connection with Highway 1.  And there in the distance were the spires of the new Golden Ears Bridge, still under construction. 

Two immediate impressions: the cable-stay spires are not as elegant or as impressive as those on the Alex Fraser or the Skytrain crossings – though still eye-catching and dramatic.  But if they’re not as tall as one might have expected, the elevated roadways leading on to the bridge are much longer and more massive than I anticipated.

There’s also a new road underneath the on-ramp.

For more on the bridge and its context, check out Price Tags 68.

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September 9, 2008

Not sure why, but Buenos Aries seems to have become the place-to-go.  Friends rave.  Like Dave Salter, who sends these pics of some of his favourite buildings.

And this one from Sao Paulo, of the aptly named “Unique Hotel.”

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Keep ’em coming, folks.  Here’s a favoured passerelle from PT reader Chris:

The Esplanade Riel was built in Winnipeg a few years ago. It was highly contentious because of the cost of running plumbing for a restaurant in the middle, but it is one of the most photographed locations in the city now.

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