Vancouver Singularities I

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There are givens and truisms about many cities on the planet. A consistent one is that Vancouver is a very beautiful city; or to be more specific, is situated within a spectacularly beautiful setting. But sometimes beauty is not how you expect it to be.

Approaching the Vancouver downtown skyline a couple of days ago (33 years since my last visit) Himself and I turned to each other with incredulity. We had been simultaneously struck by the bizarre design of every tower block on the horizon. A jarring aesthetic of pronounced verticals and horizontals and honey-combed cellular forms reminiscent of a Sticklebrix town. I cast around for likely influences and failed to find any. For the first 24 hours I kept trying to capture the effect but no camera could convey the angularity and texture.

And then yesterday, as we sat gazing at the shoreline from a ferry on False Creek, I realised that I was no longer seeing anything odd about this singular urban architecture. All I could see was the beauty of the skyline.

I’m clearly acclimatized to Vancouver.

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3 responses to Vancouver Singularities I

  1. Tom

    So true;
    I was always astonished that the downtown core had quite such a uniform style of skyscraper, as they (mostly) rocketed up at the same time (nighties, noughties). All turquoise tinted glass and white frame. The same again in the West Side, except this time with the seventies, eighties concrete.
    I thought it was unusual for a city to have such a proliferate and pronounced era of buildings. Made me wonder how well it will look when the style dates…

    • Gillian – Author

      I think it’s either already dated but more likely is such an eclectic style that it will simply remain odd looking on first sight for ever and ever…

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