Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide Paperback – Apr 27 2012
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"Easily the most substantial, witty and fearless companion for touring the buildings/streets of Vancouver -- all other guides are fly-bys."(Trevor Boddy, curator of "Vancouverism: Architecture Builds the City" 2011-11-10)
"The reading is astounding. Harold Kalman and Robin Ward's text is as straightforward as John Roaf's images. It also has enough wit to please the armchair reader and enough facts to make walks of Exploring Vancouver's fourteen architectural districts time well spent."(Malcolm Parry 2011-11-10)
"An indespensible guide to anyone who is curious about Vancouver's architecture of yesterday and today." (Bing Thom 2012-02-07)
"Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide is exactly what its title says. Original authors Harold Kalman and Robin Ward have added considerable detail to their original appraisals, and also report on two decades' worth of structures added since...John Roaf's colour photographs of each building, many familiar but some less so, merit double-page treatment. Still, they make the not-quite-pocketable book a valuable companion on walks for which the authors provide useful maps." (Malcolm Parry Vancouver Sun 2012-03-14)
"Exploring Vancouver is organized into 14 chapters -- or tours...How some of the heritage buildings have been altered, adapted or reused by subsequent generations of architects is of particular interest. And of course, new buildings are featured alongside older ones, which only emphasizes how the collective architectural inventory of Vancouver and its surrounding municipalities is both idiosyncratic in stylistic approach and rich in cultural history." (Canadian Architect 2012-03-21)
About the Author
Harold Kalman is a specialist in architectural history and heritage conservation. He is the author (or co-author) of many standard texts on architecture and conservation, including A History of Canadian Architecture and Principles of Heritage Conservation.
Robin Ward is an architectural critic, writer and graphic artist. For more than 10 years, he wrote a weekly column on architecture for the Vancouver Sun. He is the author of Robin Ward’s Vancouver and Robin Ward’s Heritage West Coast.
John Roaf studied architecture at ubc and has specialized in architectural photography in Canada and in Europe for 40 years.
Mike Harcourt is a former Premier of British Columbia and Mayor of Vancouver who has maintained a lifelong commitment to the sustainable development of cities and communities. He is the author of City Making in Paradise and Plan B: One Man’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph.
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Here's a book written in standard architecture guide fashion made great by superb content. The book is arranged into walking (or driving) tours by neighborhood, and features most of the exceptional structures within each. There are about 500 entries, each with a small color photograph and a descriptive essay. The essays make reference to other notable structures nearby, so the effective coverage of the entire book is quite comprehensive. The descriptions for each building are surprisingly insightful for their brevity. The author has done an outstanding job of distilling the city's buildings down into a manageable presentation.
Vancouver is a very young city, and the vast majority of the architecture we see today was built within the last 50 years. While important classical buildings are included, there is a sizable chunk of the book dedicated to modernism and postmodernism. Being a classicist, there's more modernism here than I prefer, but that's a matter of my personal interest and not a criticism of the book. Modernists will love its attention to specific examples of many styles within the genre.
If you're visiting Vancouver and you have an interest in buildings, this book is a must. Not a travel guide or coffee table book, it is a solid reference work, and would be of real use to architectural historians and local historians.
I bought the eBook version so I could follow some of the routes on my iPhone and see the buildings in person as I read about them. The eBook satisfies that. However, the presentation of pictures and typesetting as is the case with so many books when they move from physical to digital leaves something to be desired. I think this would probably be a pretty cool coffee table book but in the eBook version it is just about the content.
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