Architecture And Cityscape

Notable buildings within the city include Christ Church Cathedral, the Hotel Vancouver, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. There are several modern buildings in the downtown area, including the Harbour Centre, Vancouver Law Courts and surrounding plaza known as Robson Square (Arthur Erickson) and the Vancouver Library Square (Moshe Safdie, architect), reminiscent of the Colosseum in Rome.

The original BC Hydro headquarters building at Nelson and Burrard Streets is a modernist high-rise, now converted into the Electra condominiums. Also notable is the "concrete waffle" of the MacMillan-Bloedel building on the north-east corner of the Georgia and Thurlow intersection. A prominent addition to the city's landscape is the giant tent-frame Canada Place, the former Canada Pavilion from Expo '86, which includes part of the Convention Centre as well as a Cruise Ship Terminal and the Pan-Pacific Hotel. Two modern skyscrapers that define the skyline looking south are the city hall and the Centennial Pavilion of Vancouver Hospital, both by Townley and Matheson (1936 and 1958

A collection of Edwardian buildings in the city's old downtown core were, in their day, the tallest buildings in the British Empire. These were, in succession, the Carter-Cotton Building (former home to the Vancouver Province newspaper) , the Dominion Building (1907, both at Cambie and Hastings Streets), and the Sun Tower (1911) at Beatty and Pender Streets. The Sun Tower's cupola was finally exceeded as the Empire's tallest by the elaborate Art Deco Marine Building in the 1920s. Inspired by New York's Chrysler Building,[citation needed] the Marine Building is known for its elaborate ceramic tile facings and brass-gilt doors and elevators, which make it a favourite location for movie shoots.

Another notable Edwardian building in the city is the Vancouver Art Gallery building, designed by Francis Mawson Rattenbury, who also designed the provincial Legislature and the original and highly decorative Hotel Vancouver (torn down after WWII as a condition of the completion of the new Hotel Vancouver a block away.)

Topping the list of tallest buildings in Vancouver is Living Shangri-La at 201 metres (659 ft) and 62 storeys. The second tallest building in Vancouver is One Wall Centre at 150 metres (491 ft) and 48 storeys, followed closely by the Shaw Tower at 149 metres (489 ft) and 41 storeys.

A notable aspect of Vancouver's cityscape is its density. Through active planning, Vancouver has become somewhat unique among North American cities, and is continually ranked highly in livability. Consequently, the city's success initiated an urban planning movement known as Vancouverism, characterized by high-rise residential and mixed-use development in urban centres.

One principle of Vancouverism involves protecting "View Corridors". Vancouver's "View Protection Guidelines" were approved in 1989 and amended in 1990, establishing view corridors in the downtown with height limits to protect views of the North Shore Mountains. These guidelines have succeeded in preserving mountain views, although some find Vancouver's skyline flat and lacking in visual interest and failing to represent the city's contemporary image. In response, Council commissioned a "Skyline Study" in 1997 which concluded that Vancouver's skyline would benefit from the addition of a handful of buildings exceeding current height limits, to add visual interest to Vancouver's skyline.

The study noted that the opportunities for such buildings were restricted due to a limited number of large development sites in the downtown. Eight years later, five of the seven identified sites for higher buildings have been developed or are in the development application process. The tallest of these new buildings is the Living Shangri-La hotel/residential tower, which, completed in 2008, stands 201 metres (659 ft) tall (62 storeys).

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License