Mid-century postal buildings
Occupying an entire city block in Vancouver’s downtown core, the currently decommissioned General Post Office was designed by John McCarter & George Nairne and constructed between 1952-1958.
It’s the city’s biggest, boldest and perhaps most distinguished mid-century modern structure still standing, so naturally it has no protective status and its future is up in the air (but we’ll get to that…).
During construction of this massive 5-story International Style building, which served as Western Canada’s primary mail sorting facility, advanced technologies of the day were applied while the finest of quality finishing materials were used. No expense was spared and the building even contained several original pieces of commissioned artwork.
It’s said to have been called the “Taj Mahal with escalators” when it opened in 1958 and stood as a symbol for Western Canadian post-war prosperity and optimism.
As of this writing the site still holds a small functioning postal outlet but the building is slated for redevelopment with the hopes that re-purposing the original structure will keep it from the wrecking ball.
UPDATE: March, 2019 – Redevelopment of this site is under way. The building will be saved and repurposed.
Bonus Post Office: Check out Canada Post’s still operational Postal Station D, at 2405 Pine Street, in Kitsilano. Designed by Ian Davidson & Daniel White in 1966, this compact brutalist building features a beautifully sculpted concrete relief around its perimeter by artist George Norris (see photo No. 8, above).
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