Thursday, 26 May 2011

Marine Building and "Marine Mosaic"

The Marine Building at 355 Burrard Street in Vancouver was built in the art deco style. Designed by McCarter, Nairne and partners (they also designed the Georgia Medical Dental Building), it took 16 months to complete and opened in October 1930. It has 21 floors, and rises 321 feet. The exterior is terra cotta coloured brick and cream coloured brick decoration making it resemble, to some, an iced cake. Built for G A Stimson Co., by the time it was completed the stock market had collapsed, the owner was in financial difficulty and, as a result it was sold (for less than it cost to build) to British Pacific Building Co. (owned by the Guinness family of Ireland). The Guinness family had previously bought property in West Vancouver and had financed construction of the Lions Gate Bridge to provide access to their new subdivision British Properties (see my earlier blog, "Lion at the Gate" on the Lions Gate Bridge).

Marine Building reflection

A J Taylor, managing director of British Pacific Building Co., converted the observation deck of the Marine Building into a penthouse apartment for himself, his wife and his daughters, but later moved out because his wife disliked the height.

The interior of the Marine Building is beautifully appointed with several types of hardwood, brass and stone. Both the interior and exterior are decorated with striking relief sculpture in a marine theme.

Lobby details

Exterior details

The building was renovated from 1982 to 1989 to update the structure, during which the lobby floor was replaced with marble and the former Merchant Exchange on the ground floor was replaced by a restaurant.

The variety of marine life and lore on the building is fascinating and includes ships, marine birds, fish and shells and images of Neptune. This is what interested me in the building and why I chose the mosaic theme which allows me to integrate these elements in a single piece. Here is my tribute to the Marine Building titled "Marine Mosaic":

Here are more of my marine theme works:

 "Barnacle Beaks"

"Beached by a Storm"

 "Ocean Pearls"

 "See Shells"

"Seeing Stars"

These images are available on 5" x 7" cards or as prints (4" x 6" or 8" x 10") at


Just a reminder:

ART SHOW @ Knox Fellowship Hall, May 29, 2011 from 11 am to 3 pm. My painting friends and I will be having an art show and sale at Knox Fellowship Hall on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Knox Fellowship Hall is located beside Knox United Church at 5600 Balaclava Street, one block east of Blenheim just north of 41st Avenue. There will be a variety of media (watercolour, acrylic, oil), subjects and sizes of original work and light refreshments will be served. Hope to see you there. Here are some of the paintings I will be showing: 

Thank you for reading this latest post.

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