Mayhew House

Recently, while in Victoria, I had a chance to visit a house I could hardly afford but could hardly afford to miss. Ron Thom's Mayhew house has been up for sale for quite a while, reduced in price to the point of making some afraid that it would be torn done once bought up. This waterfront property in the Uplands neighborhood could easily fall pray to the extremely voracious McMansion fever sweeping through that area.

The house, unaltered save a few unfortunate interior finish changes, is ripe for a loving restoration. It has impeccable inner structure and spaciality; the proportion, the flow, it is all there - that ineffable feeling of a fantastic building that one can not summarize easily in words like you could attempt to do with Baker/Forrest House in West Vancouver or the Fraser House in Toronto.

Anyway, here are some more of my (inferior) photos - click to enlarge:

and the house comes with the archive
containing all correspondence, etc.:

Neither my pictures nor the next set really do this building justice. Here are the contemporary photos and plan from Doug Shadbolt's book:

Clearer but much less compelling plan:

Vancouver Lights also did a post on Mayhew House - check it out.


Vancouver Street View

I went on a little stroll near Vancouver Art Gallery with newly released Canpages street view. Again the credit for alerting me to it is to Gordon Price (check out his blog - it's also in the sidebar); the CTV picked it up recently too. Canpages beat Google to it in Vancouver. Very nifty, although the range is fairly limited.

Just click on "street view" once you are on the map page:


Henriquez interview in G&M

Kelly Deck interviews Gregory Henriquez on Woodwards for Globe and Mail in 'Woodward's tests architects passion'.

Some interesting quotes:
  • I'm a fourth-generation architect. The sort of work that I'm passionate about is work around social justice. It's really what I call cultural sustainability. It's the buzzword nowadays: Everyone talks about sustainable buildings - the green stuff. But the best thing that you can do in terms of sustainability is design a building that society values and will be around in a hundred years.
  • I don't see myself as a West Coast designer, I see myself as a downtown Vancouver designer. I believe in density, in urbanity; I think that the diversity of our community here is something that's beautiful and it should really be embraced as a model for other parts of the world.

    The future is in hybrid projects - where market, rental and affordable housing get merged into the normal fabric of our city. I think that if we embrace the philosophy, in one generation we could end the homelessness and affordability problem. We're such a wealthy country, the fact that we can't deal with this important issue just seems silly.

But do read the interview for yourself. It is here.


Gold for the Patkaus: better late than never!

Agosta House

It's about time. Read the press release from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada regarding this year's gold medal recipients:

Patkaus Awarded RAIC Gold Medals

Vancouver-based architects John Patkau FRAIC and Patricia Patkau FRAIC are the recipients of the 2009 RAIC Gold Medal from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The two Winnipeg-born architects founded Patkau Architects in Edmonton, Alberta in 1979 before relocating to Vancouver in 1984. Both are Fellows of the RAIC, Honorary Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, and Members of the Order of Canada. Patkau Architects has received significant national and international awards, including 12 Governor General’s Medals, four Progressive Architecture Awards, 16 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, an RAIC Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence, and three AIA Honor Awards. Patkau Architects was selected to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1996. Patricia is a faculty member at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, and both have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to both teaching and practice. The RAIC Gold Medal, considered to be the highest honour bestowed by the profession of architecture in Canada, recognizes significant contribution to Canadian architecture; individuals whose personal work has demonstrated exceptional excellence in the design and practice of architecture; and/or, whose work related to architecture, has demonstrated exceptional excellence in research or education. In reaching their decision, the Gold Medal Selection Committee noted:

  • “They fulfill the dream that ordinary people have about architecture: that life can be more whole, more harmonious, more livable because such a building exists.”
  • “Their work as architects and teachers has inspired generations of aspiring architects across Canada.”
  • “They create architecture that matters.”
And, here is Pyrch House - just because this image strikes me every time I see it:

All images from patkau.ca.


FormShift Vancouver Update

Well, this is much more to my liking! Without much fanfare the key dates for the FormShift Vancouver competition have been changed. Here are the new ones:

Registration: March 20th, 2009
Submission: April 6, 2009.


Upcoming Event + Competition: Architecture for Humanity - Vancouver

On April 3, Vancouver chapter of Architecture for Humanity debuts with a fundraising art auction at Grace Gallery:

Up for bid are a variety of works by local artists, sketches from renowned architects and a piece from internationally acclaimed local artist Stan Douglas.

The proceeds from the auction will go towards AFH Vancouver’s operational costs and fund its ongoing projects; moreover, a portion of the proceeds will go towards the international body's worldwide humanitarian efforts.

In addition to a meet and greet with the artists, the auction is also the official launch of AFH Vancouver’s first project, a laneway housing idea competition.

Wow, and another competition too! Keep 'em coming! And, one concerning laneways - it's as though they have read my thoughts. More from press release:

In addition to a meet and greet with the artists, the auction is also the official launch of AFH Vancouver’s first project, a laneway housing idea competition.

The lack of affordable housing is an issue that affects many people, across a variety of income levels,” said Lam. “The laneway housing project is an opportunity for the city to move forward and increase the number of people living in Vancouver in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

The idea competition launch is part of AFH Vancouver’s 2 week exhibit and forum on laneway housing taking place in May.


Vancouver Lights Blog

How did I miss this blog for so long? How did it avoid my half-watchful eye until now?
But I have finally found it, digging around online, and I cannot help but share:

Vancouver Lights - writing about Vancouver art and (yay!) architecture.

Check it out!

It also assumes a post in the blog roll. Check all of them out if you haven't yet.

Upcoming Event: Tristan d'Estree Sterk

Tristan d'Estree Sterk from The Office For Robotic Architectural Media & The Bureau For Responsive Architecture of Chicago will lecture on March 4 at 6pm, UBC Laserre Building (Room 102), on a topic of 'Responsive Architecture - Responsive Structure - Shape Change'. Blurb:

The Office For Robotic Architectural Media & The Bureau For Responsive Architecture are binary architecture / technology offices that design buildings, spaces, and systems that reflect the social and technological conditions of our time. The office implements responsive technologies to produce high-tech and sustainable architectures that reduce the impacts that buildings have upon the natural environment.
SALA link.