Burrard Building

Mid-century modern buildings

Designed by CBK Van Norman in 1955, the Burrard Building was the first office high rise to go up in downtown Vancouver using new post-war modernist design and building techniques… at least on its trendy Miesian exterior.

The interior holds a more traditional, less open floor plan, which the B.C. Electric/Hydro building improved upon when it went up the following year.

Still, the Burrard Building was a pioneer of modernist office building design in the mid 1950s, and despite a questionable facelift in the late ’80s and a street level today compromised of retail store signage and distracting “gingerbread,” you can definitely still appreciate this 19-story International Style structure just by looking up.

Bonus Building: Another modernist first is located just a  few blocks north/east of the Burrard Building at 409 Granville St. & W. Hastings St.; the site of the first International Style office building in the city’s financial district. Designed by architects Semmens & Simpson (the Central Library), the United Kingdom Building went up in 1960 and is a 17-story beauty that’s often overlooked in favor of others such as the nearby Bentall Buildings or Guinness Tower, both of which came later that same decade.

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