The triangle-shaped 20-storey office building at 1500 West Georgia Street has been described by historians and architects as a western gateway to the central business district. One of Vancouver's most striking examples of Postmodern architecture, the building and its adjoining plaza have come under the microscope in recent years, as a proposal to erect a 43-residential tower on the block threatens to shakeup the architect's original vision.
Designed by Peter Cardew of Rhone & Iredale, the oblique building is comprised of two curtain walls linked by an exposed concrete core, all arranged in a triangular form. Cardew sought inspiration from the avant-garde designs of British architect Sir James Stirling. The building overlooks a trapezoidal reflecting pool that occupies most of the site. Built for the Crown Life Insurance Company in 1978, it represented the westward encroachment of the central business district into the largely residential West End.
Concrete, glass and brick characterize the Postmodern expression of the tower, and have the practical effect of reducing solar gain and maximizing environmental performance. The adjacent reflecting pool and cascading waterfall also borders a one-storey retail building that boasts a nearly identical triangular footprint as the tower.
A development proposal lodged by Bosa Properties for a Buro Ole Scheeren-designed tower would see the east side of 1500 West Georgia Street developed, leaving some heritage preservationists worried. The Jenga-like building, featuring cantilevered appendages, appears to leave the reflecting pool intact, but would replace the one-storey building at the far end of the property.
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