Upcoming documentary on local sustainable and heritage buildings

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Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation presents a screening of their new documentary mini-series featuring local projects that showcase the sustainable possibilities of older buildings.

VHF has completed a new documentary highlighting creativity and ingenuity, the films show three methods that were used to preserve heritage while creating practical spaces for a modern city.

The documentaries take an in-depth look at the restoration and infill project at the Gow Block, an energy efficient renovation of a Vancouver Special, and a lane home built behind a heritage home in Grandview-Woodlands.

The Gow block

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

The Gow block is a mixed use wood frame Edwardian structure built in 1910 that sits on 3589 Commercial Street (the Northwestern corner of Commercial Street and 20th) that has seen its history of renovations. Jerry Prussin and Norah Johnson were looking for a project that they could work on together, that could be restored and that would, in the long term, pay for their retirement.

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

After a significant renovation process, Norah and Jerry not only had a beautifully restored Heritage Registered Building that speaks to both the history of the building and neighbourhood. The dream, which got them through the more difficult parts of the project, was to “restore it, and do it together”.

Vancouver Special

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Vancouver Specials were designed in the early 1960s, now made extremely popular by real estate agents. Originally, these spec built houses were for a growing population, middle class folks who were looking into inexpensive housing options for themselves. Approximately 10,000 homes in metro Vancouver can be called the Special.

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

The prolific Vancouver Special is a favourite among renovators due to its flexible floor plan and maximized foot print. For this particular renovation, the family wanted to push the limits of the style by making it as energy efficient as possible. By utilizing natural light and air flow, along with small interventions in design the resulting home is innovative as well as beautiful.

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Laneway Grandview-Woodlands

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Adding density to heritage rich neighbourhoods, such as Grandview-Woodlands, can be a challenge. The need for more housing is great, but so is the desire to preserve what makes these areas so livable. One family found a happy medium in this charming lane house, sympathetically built to complement the principal residence, while allowing rental income in the short term, and a place for extended family in the future.

“The peak helped with giving our neighbours sun and keeping it in the style of Grandview Woodlands”
Fiona, owner

A person living on their own does not necessarily want all the space, cost or upkeep of a single family home, especially as they are getting older. A laneway house provides all the freedom of the single family home, without all the work.

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Image: The Vancouver Heritage Foundation

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation will be screening all three parts of the series for the first time, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A period. You are invited to attend the screening and be ready to join the conversation about the important themes presented in the films.

Event details

The panel will include author of Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years, Michael Kluckner, Director of the City Program at SFU, Gordon Price, Architect Andre Rowland and Cultural Researcher Naveen Girn.

When: Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Time: 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Where: Vancity Theatre – 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver

Tickets: $12, or $8 with Valid Student ID – Register here

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Perry Cheung is a contributing writer, and trained as an architect. At Vancity Buzz he shares his boundless passions for architecture, talks about business, commercial development, and local tech.
@pcitybuzz

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