Friday, May 27, 2011

Erickson's Evergreen

If you were walking east along West Pender you would come across this unique building at the corner of Pender and Jarvis. It is newer than most of the buildings I write on, built in 1980, but it is still historically significant.

Designed by one of Canada's most brilliant architects, Arthur Erickson who collaborated with pioneering landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, the Evergreen is one of Erickson's most significant works.
This building marks the mid-career evolution of Erickson's design aesthetic and reflects his belief in site, light, cadence and space.

The Evergreen Building was commissioned by John Laxton for whom Erickson had designed two significant residences. The spatial complexity and restrained detailing respect and emphasize the context with diagonal lines in a bold sawtooth pattern and are sensitive to the difficult, trapezoidal site.

Erickson created complex geometries through the interplay of offset zigzag and linear floor plates, each floor diminishing in floor area within the tapered, trapezoidal building footprint and took full advantage of the stepped configuration. He also kept true to his belief of combining nature and architecture. Not only does the building resemble a mountainside with its receding balconies but foliage overflows the sides, softening the edges and giving the impression that this building was carved into a mountain.

Erickson was a Vancouver BC native and although he travelled the world, he made Vancouver his home. When he died in 2009 we truly lost a great visionary. I hope to be covering more of his buildings in the future.

Built in 1888 the Leslie House is not only a rare example of a cottage version of  the Queen Anne style Victorian house but is also one of the earliest surviving example of a single family dwelling in downtown Vancouver.

This style began in Britain around 1860 then made its way over to Victoria. From there it progressed to the United States where modifications were made to make it more flamboyant. It then returned to my fair city where further adjustments were made to include some Italianate elements.

The style is shown through the hipped roof, irregularly projecting gables, an octagonal tower projecting from the front corner, and the decorative surface treatment, such as turned spindlework and ornamental balustrade details of the open front porch and upper balcony.

This address is also home to Umbertos, an Italian restaurant. According to their website the house was built in 1896. Whichever date is correct it is still an old house.

I hope you find the beauty around you.
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