Whether you want a modern, sleek look or something more traditional, West Vancouver has an architect to meet your needs. From Paul Merrick to Stuart Howard, we have you covered. We also take a look at several West Coast Modernism styles. In addition to the two mentioned above, we look at the West Vancouver Memorial Library and the Fairmont Medical Building on West Broadway.
West Coast Modernism
The West Coast Modern League is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the architecture, urbanism, and design of the western United States and western Canada. With a focus on the southern coastal regions of British Columbia, the organization is led by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of architects, critics, curators, and professionals with a passion for west coast architecture.
During West Coast Modern Week, the West Vancouver Art Museum is hosting a panel discussion about the legacy of the movement. The event will feature leading local design experts discussing the relationship between midcentury West Coast Modernism and contemporary architecture and design practices. This event will focus on the enduring qualities of midcentury modern architecture, and highlight the challenges and opportunities associated with its continued resurgence in the region.
During the 1950s, this style of architecture flourished on the West Coast. Influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and the International Style, West Coast Modernism sought to create homes that were both elegant and functional, but also sympathetic to the landscape and climate of the region. The style is characterized by its symmetry and open space, which result in stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
During the Week of West Coast Modernism, the WVAM will host a series of lectures, films, and discussions, culminating with the annual Modern Homes Tour, presented by British Pacific Properties Limited. Over the course of the week, hundreds of local and international archiphiles will tour homes throughout the city. One home on the tour is the Merrick House, one of the most notable examples of West Coast Modern architecture.
This year’s West Coast Modern Week in Vancouver will take place from July 5 to July 10, and will showcase a variety of modernist architecture. With a unique topography, this region offers unique challenges for architects.
The Usonian style is a type of modern architecture whose homes emphasize efficiency in space. The homes feature a minimalist interior with minimal ornamentation and are often built with local materials, such as concrete blocks. The architects of this style often utilized this material to reduce the cost of building a home by creating a simple system of blocks that could be used repeatedly. The homes typically featured several small bedrooms, a kitchen, and living spaces that were open to the outdoors.
Usonian houses are scattered across the United States. There is even a 100-acre wooded parcel in New York City with 47 Usonian-style homes. Wright designed three of the homes there himself and approved the plans for the rest. Wright incorporated his vision for the Usonian style into the buildings there.
The Usonian style is inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. His goal was to create affordable and efficient homes for the middle class. Wright believed that houses should follow natural curves and not be overly complex. This approach allowed for easy construction and was the first step towards the ranch-style homes that are so popular today.
As a patron saint of modernism in Canada, Arthur Erickson is also revered. Two of his homes are for sale in the city. One in Vancouver is located in the affluent West Vancouver. The west coast is renowned for its modernist treasures and the West Vancouver Art Museum champions the preservation of local properties.
The architectural firm of Paul Merrick has been a fixture in West Vancouver for more than six decades. Their designs have shaped Vancouver’s skyline. The office, which has a museum, is housed in a historic stone house built by Gertrude Lawson. Visitors can learn about the design process by visiting a replica of Merrick’s drafting table.
Merrick was involved in the first plans for False Creek, as well as the renovation of the Orpheum Theatre, West Vancouver Memorial Library, and BC Hydro Electra Buildings. The firm also designed the Merrick Residence in West Vancouver, which was described as “carpenter Gothic”. The home features a cathedral-like wood ceiling, a 40-foot stone fireplace, turrets, and tiny window bays.
Merrick began his career as an architectural student at the University of British Columbia, working as a designer for Thompson, Berwick, and Pratt. He later became the Practice Chair at the firm. In 1984, he co-founded Paul Merrick, West Vancouver Architects, a firm he has led for the past 35 years. Merrick was awarded the prestigious Architectural Institute of British Columbia Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. The firm was renamed in 2004 and Merrick continues to consult with it.
The company is a great example of Merrick’s versatility and passion for design. His work has earned him a reputation as one of the most iconic Vancouver architectural firms. He has completed over 100 projects and is the co-author of the Umass Extension West Vancouver Blo. He is survived by his wife, Alison Martin.
Stuart Howard Architects
For four decades, Stuart Howard Architects has been contributing to the multifamily and single-family housing markets. The firm has been recognized for its design innovations, working with some of the largest builders in the country. Their work has also been featured in numerous publications and news outlets. The company has completed over 350 projects, and is known for focusing on contemporary and modern designs.
The redevelopment of the site at 1505 59th Avenue West in Vancouver, BC, is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. Architect Stuart Howard was responsible for the development of the building, which will consist of 81 units in a three-storey building. The property has two single-family homes, but the proposed development is set to replace these.
The firm’s multidisciplinary staff specializes in residential and commercial projects. They use sustainable construction methods to build homes with minimal environmental impact. This firm has been recognized with several awards from national and regional organizations, including the 2016 AIA Small Project Award. The firm is also a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s British Columbia Award for Architecture – Merit Level.
The firm’s principals, Mark Ritchie and Brian Cavanaugh, oversee the firm’s daily operations. Both have over two decades of experience in the architectural field. Before founding the firm, they both worked in major architectural studios, including in Australia, Asia, and New Zealand.
RSAAW has been involved with several notable projects, including the Berkley House. This 4,000-square-foot single-family home is a showcase of the firm’s ability to blend Western and Asian design influences. It has been featured in multiple publications, including Archdaily, Houseporn, Wallpaper Magazine, and the National Post.
West Vancouver-based Measured Architecture is an award-winning, full-service architecture firm. It focuses on contemporary, environmentally-friendly architecture for the private and public sectors. It has completed a number of projects, including the Wolfe House and the Mayne Island retreat. The firm has also received several awards, including the inaugural Architecture Designer of the Year from Western Living Magazine. They’ve also been recognized as a top firm by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.
The design team of Measured Architecture worked with the client to address the sloping lot and integrate the views of a park. Measured Architecture also designed the house with a laneway, which allows the homeowner to access the back of the property via a private deck.
The firm focuses on sensitive design that respects local context and site realities. It is a prestigious firm that has received numerous awards, including the AIA/Dwell Magazine Emerging Firm Award. Their work focuses on custom homes, multi-family housing, and micro co-housing.
Another major project by the firm is the Woodward’s Building, which was redeveloped from an old department store. The project includes a condominium tower and retail, community services, and social housing. The building also features Canada’s largest living roof. It also has landscaped terraces.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.