Vancouver architecture brought to the forefront

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Blog covers architecture in a changing city

By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer

Every once in a while, a gem is found on the Internet. It expands your knowledge and appreciation for a subject, and is curated by talented and passionate people. The Changing City is one such gem.

This blog acts as a continuation of the book The Changing City: Walking Tours in Central Vancouver, and is curated by its authors, John Atkin and Andy Coupland. It showcases the exciting world of the modern Greater Vancouver Area and its architectural styles—a world that is changing at a rapid pace.

From the legendary Bing Thom’s curved glass and wood at Surrey Central, to the bold black-and-red apartments connected to Emily Carr, the blog takes an expert and loving look at recently finished or soon-to-be-built projects.

The Changing City excels at showing how much change is happening in Vancouver right now. The cityscapes in Surrey, Downtown Vancouver, and even Langley are shifting and growing with a distinctively West Coast style. Flowing blue-green glass is the iconic Vancouver look, and it’s spreading across the Fraser Valley, along with bold black-and-red apartment facades and pinewood accents on office buildings. It’s a dynamic environment, and it’s a pleasure to read the changes from people who know what they’re talking about.

The authors also curate two sister blogs. What Was There Before? compares land plots just before and after major construction, showing how much parts of the Greater Vancouver Area have changed in less than a decade. Building Vancouver, the least active of the three, details the lives of “…the people associated with historic buildings that can still be found today in Vancouver.” It features such major—and now, sadly, lesser-known—names such as Chang Toy, a prominent property developer whose work can be found all over Chinatown, and the Oppenheimer brothers, who greatly affected Vancouver’s early architectural development. The blog shows how many buildings and neighbourhoods in Vancouver still stand thanks to wealthy or inspired individuals.

Vancouver architecture is in a very unique place right now. Growing more distinct with each project, while keeping old heritage buildings intact, architects have created a skyline stretching from Waterfront to South Surrey that has a style all its own. The Changing City promises to chronicle this style as it develops and matures over the next few years.