Posts Tagged ‘Ron Thom’

“Coast Modern” – film screenings in Vancouver this week

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

This film has been very difficult to see, consistently selling out (I saw scalpers at the last showing). The Vancouver International Film Fest is hosting this new set of screenings, based on the popular demand. Tickets are selling quickly so if you want to go, buy now.

This film needs to be seen on the big screen. Its comprehensive footage of beautiful westcoast modernist architecture was shot in HD and is worth seeing large. If you’re in Vancouver, don’t miss this. There is interview footage of the recently departed Julius Shulman – it’s worth seeing for that alone.

The filmmakers are friends of mine. It has been fun to watch the film come together and quickly win so much popularity. It shows that there’s a deep appetite for both a sense of our own architectural history as well for a more smaller, more beautiful style of house, houses with greater architectural integrity than we generally see in the current environment.

Architect Ron Thom’s Boyd House is for sale

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

These photos of Ron Thom’s Boyd House are from the blog Architecture Wanted which provides a good introduction to this house. Also see a great post by Cam McLellan on his Vancouver Lights blog and an article in Western Living by the house’s current owner, Kerry McPhedran. I can’t improve on what these three have already written about this excellent building.

For those who don’t know, Ron Thom was one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent modern architects in what now seems to be the golden era of architecture in this city. He produced many superb modernist post-and-beam houses in Vancouver, particularly in West Vancouver which is locally famous for houses built in that tradition. Writer Douglas Coupland lives in the same area in a Ron Thom house not unlike this one.

The Boyd House, built in 1954, is a great example of  this westcoast modern architecture, and fortunately it hasn’t suffered bad renovations. Noted architect Russell Hollingsworth was hired to do one of the remodels, for example.

The house is currently for sale, and the owner is very concerned that it be sold to someone who actually cares about it. There are far too many small and large developers demolishing modernist houses in Vancouver, and replacing them with unsustainably large houses of poor architectural quality.

Real estate information is here. I’m told there may be the opportunity for infill here if the original house is maintained. The municipality of West Vancouver seems to be running a pilot project to encourage this, which is fortunate. I hope the house goes to someone worthy of it. We don’t have enough of these well-designed houses to see any of them demolished.

See another Thom house here.

Douglas Coupland’s magical white house

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

This is by far one of my favourite houses in Vancouver. It’s in the municipality of West Vancouver, home to many of the best modern houses in the city, and it belongs to the novelist Douglas Coupland. He grew up in West Vancouver, not far from this house. Just as beautiful as this place is the house below it, a beautiful midcentury modern post and beam house designed by the architect Ron Thom. That’s the house Coupland actually lives in with his architect partner David Weir. Coupland is an artist and designer as well as a writer, and the house shown here serves as his gallery, guest house, and many other things. One of the reasons Coupland bought a second house is that the rate of demolition of midcentury modern houses in Vancouver is accelerating, and he wanted to preserve what was in his own back yard. Everything in the house is original – the flagstone floor, the carport, the railings. Lastly I’m sure it’s partly my visual OCD or some pyschedelic tendency, as well as of course their beauty, but his collections of shapes and objects are completely mesmerizing to me. Spools of thread, lego, polyhedra, modernist vases: I’m fixated. There are informative captions on the NYT blog – click on photos to go there (or link at bottom), and see my previous post on Coupland here. The fantastic photos are by Vancouver photographer Martin Tessler for the New York Times.

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

DouglasCouplandWhiteHouse13x

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

For NYT captions, click below:

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