Famous Buildings and Architecture in Vancouver

Travel Tips — By Natasha John on October 22, 2011 at 5:32 am

Scattered around Vancouver, you will find some admirable architecture that has been designed by creative visionaries and is appreciated by Vancouverites on the daily. Arthur Erickson has made a name for himself across the globe, especially in Vancouver, where he has left a lasting mark on the city’s buildings and exquisite skyline. Erickson isn’t the only one that has left an impression on the city, and after touring and viewing the different designs, techniques and architectural eras, you will appreciate the city’s varied structural designs.

Museum of Anthropology: In 1976, the famed museum was completed and open to University of British Columbia’s students, and the public. The inspiration behind Arthur Erickson’s MOA, as locals call it, was architecture of Northwest Coast First Nations people, specifically post-and-beam. Today, there’s something a little different that wasn’t there when Mr. Erickson designed the beautiful building and that is the reflecting pool that was built in 2010. Though it’s a new addition, it certainly compliments the original concept. After you take in the architectural beauty, step inside and admire the 36,000 ethnographic and 535,000 archaeological objects inside of the MOA.

Museum of Anthropology

Sun Tower: When you take a glimpse of the 100 West Pender Street building, the first thing you will likely notice is the faux-patina steal dome that is painted to imitate copper cladding. Looking like something that belongs in New York City, the tower was designed by W.T. Whiteway and met its completion in 1912. It was commissioned by L.D. Taylor, who wanted the building to be home to his newspaper, The Vancouver World. The idea was that it had to be tall enough so that everyone within its distribution region could see the building. At the time, the 17 story building wasn’t just the tallest in Vancouver, it was the tallest in the British Empire. However, that record was broken two years later by a building in Toronto. Initially called The World Building, the name changed when The Sun newspaper took over and it has kept that name ever since, despite The Sun no longer occupying the space. The Beaux-Arts style of the building was very typical of the time, and this French style became a North American favorite in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You will also notice that there are nine nude maidens right below the cornice molding, though the significance of that number has not been illustrated. If you have any insight, feel free to share your knowledge.

Sun Tower

Vancouver Art Gallery: Francis Rattenbury designed this 165,000-square-foot, neo-classical building in 1905, and was initially used as Vancouver’s court house. The lavish building is adorned with columns, an impressive central dome and plenty of marble that’s eye-catching, and the building is a work of art in itself. Before it transitioned into the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1983, the building housed 18 court rooms. When it came time to move, the BC Courts didn’t have to move very far and the new building (designed by Arthur Erickson) is just across the road from the VAG.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Library’s Central Branch and Library Square: This centrally located branch is the most spectacular amongst its fellow branches. From the outside, the library resembles a large Roman Colosseum and takes up an entire city block. The building was designed by Moshie Safdie and is actually quite new, as it was completed in 1995. Central Branch is 37,000 square metres, holds 1.3 million books, periodicals and reference materials in its nine stories. It’s quite spectacular!

Vancouver Library Square

Here are a few more other notable buildings and structures:

Harbour Centre

Harbour Centre

Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge

Vancouver Law Courts

Vancouver Law Courts

Tags: architecture, law courts, library square, lions gate bridge, museum of anthropology, Vancouver Art Galler