Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Marine Building

The Marine Building is my favourite building ever in Vancouver. It makes me happy just to walk past the doors and marvel at its uniqueness and attention to detail.

The Marine Building was built for $2.3 million by McCarter & Nairne as an office building and upon opening in 1930 it was the tallest building in the Empire (briefly). According to the architects, it was intended to evoke "some great crag rising from the sea, clinging with sea flora and fauna, tinted in sea-green, touched with gold". Originally there was an observation deck too, but that was closed during the Depression and has never been reopened since. Although it no longer dominates the downtown skyline (most unfortunate) the outside and lobby have been refurbished recently.
Hopefully it will become internationally famous when the silly Olympics come in 113 days. Considering how many movies and TV shows are shot in Vancouver, I'm surprised that it's not featured much. Although, it was briefly shown in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasus (such a stupendously wondrous film!).
Walking into the lobby feels like walking into a cathedral dedicated to Art Deco.

The five elevators have brass doors, shiny buttons and originally were operated by girls in sailor suits.

The insides have 12 types of local hardwood

There's just so much attention to beautiful details, you have to see it for yourself. And unlike today's modern glass office buildings, one can tell that people actually made this.

Just to show how much the downtown skyline has changed since the Marine Building was built:

1. View from the Nine O'Clock Gun in Stanley Park during the War (from the Library Archives)

2. One that I took from the same place last Saturday

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