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Old Posted Aug 31, 2012, 4:02 PM
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‘Vancouverism’ architecture: It's style over substance

‘Vancouverism’ architecture: It's style over substance


August 27, 2012

By Bob Ransford



Read More: http://www.vancouversun.com/business...425/story.html

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.....

A number of architects and other urbanists hail the “Vancouverism” — a design trend that has among its key principles residential buildings that are in the form of thin point towers with a podium at street level wrapped with townhouses providing “eyes on the street.”

- Other principles of this trend include buildings clad mainly with glass to give the appearance of transparency and a light structure. These sacrosanct design ideas that supposedly define Vancouver have also been translated into planning regulations that prevent substantial forms along arterial streets in order to avoid any conflict with residents in single-family neighbourhoods that they front.

- “The trouble with architecture in Vancouver is that many architects are failing to look at the substance of how people inhabit buildings. They’re looking at how buildings appear. It’s about style over substance.” Williamson believes that many architects today are reactive instead of proactive, especially the architects who design housing in Vancouver — most of it multi-family housing in standard forms depending in its location. He believes not a lot has changed in the design that responds to how people can live in multi-family housing since the mid-1960s apartment boom in Vancouver’s West End.

- An architect who has made his mark with many innovative projects over 25 years in the business, nine of them leading his own practice, Williamson has tackled design challenges by trying to anticipate how shifts in cultural values shape lifestyles. He’s tried to apply new ways, based on timeless fundamentals, of designing “places where people can live and work with dignity and respect.” A number of his projects have been in the Downtown Eastside and have involved innovative new in-fill buildings and revitalization of heritage buildings. “The Vancouverism some talk about is not a new way of living as it is promoted. It is a fashion,” Williamson contends.

- He points to an earlier cultural shift in the post-Second World War period, when the modernism movement in architecture reflected the emerging optimism in society with open-plan houses with vast glazing inviting light into homes. He then compares that to today’s digital-driven technological change, in an era of mobile devices, lightning speed computing, vast amounts of data and huge networks. “These are conservative times, but technological changes are changing values and shaping different ways people want to live and work. Meanwhile, architects are reverting to classic solutions — classic meaning something that is timeless and not adaptable.”

- The generation of first-time homebuyers aged about 20 to 35 “doesn’t care as much about appliances and other material possessions in a home,” he says. “People tend to be more mobile and also more transient, not just physically, but digitally. They pack everything up with them when they move around. Designing a room to allow them to keep Grandma’s dining room table is no longer relevant.” He sees a need to end compartmentalization in homes, instead designing open spaces to be used flexibly and accommodating walls and fixtures that can move around. These changes, Williamson suggests, can lead to more affordable homes by achieving construction cost savings.

.....



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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 4:00 PM
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That photo, focused on the fugly 70s brutalism towers, does not come close to conveying the gist of the article.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 4:32 PM
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Sure, but that picture looks better than one showing nothing but sterile glass condos. I like the Province Tower and Harbour Centre more than most of the new condo buildings anyway.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 4:47 PM
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Building a thousand (yes yes I exaggerate) sterile glass condo towers is a "style" now? I'm sure Vancouver is a great city but when I think "awesome skyline" it doesn't even pop into my head.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 7:48 PM
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When I visited Vancouver I felt that it was the ugliest city in the world... Such unimaginitive, boring, and repetitive copy/pasted glass condos...
Not to mention there is no focal point on the skyline! No landmark, nothing? If it weren't for the mountains, it would be nearly impossible to distinguish from other cities. I only know that it's Vancouver because of how boring and depressing it looks.

The only nice buildings there are the rare art deco buildings, and the brand new Shangri La tower. I'm also looking forward to the twisted tower planned there.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 8:02 PM
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I like the typical glass-n-panel condo look. My only qualm is that inside, all that glass means you're in a fishbowl -- people can see in so I'd have the blinds down 21/7, or 24/7 on sunny days if facing south.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 8:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneGuy View Post
When I visited Vancouver I felt that it was the ugliest city in the world...
This staggers the mind.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2012, 1:24 PM
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putting a bunch of eh south florida apt bldgs into cities like vancouver, toronto, chicago, etc. is not very interesting and not a really a style, although i suppose there is a case for that. as we see on ssp the locals in these places get all hyped up about them going up in droves and certainly i am glad for it and glad that it is urban infill, but people boxes are boring. this is north america's version of asia tiger apt bldg construction. once is awhile there is an interesting one, but otherwise we might as well be looking at exurban housing developments.
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