Wednesday, 15 June 2011

"Fire and Ice" and The Flack Block

In this post I feature the Flack Block, the inspiration for another work in my Vancouver (VBC) Gargoyles and landmarks series. The series highlights decorative details on well known Vancouver landmarks, which I refer to as "gargoyles" because they add a fanciful air to the Vancouver skyline and give character to the structures they guard or adorn.

The “Flack Block” was built for, and named after, Thomas Flack who struck gold in 1897 at the beginning of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Investment money from the gold rush had created a building boom along West Hastings Street. The Flack Block, built in the Romanesque revival style, is located at the corner of West Hastings and Cambie Streets. It is the work of William Blackman (1842-1904), built between 1899 and 1900. It has four storeys, a stone, brick and masonry façade and columns and arch details on windows. The façade is dominated by a richly decorated arched doorway on the Hastings Street entrance.

 Hastings Street entrance details:

The original Provincial Court Building, built at Court House Square, now Victory Square, was in the then centre of the city's financial and legal district. The Flack Block, located across the street, held offices of barristers, insurance agents, mining brokers, gold dealers and jewellers and the original Bank of Vancouver with small retailers at street level.

Years of neglect left the building in disrepair and a face lift removed the arched, carved doorway. This heritage building has recently been carefully restored including recreating the details on the arched doorway from historical photographs. The restoration of the building, by the Salient Group, received a 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award from Heritage BC.

"Fire and Ice" by Gillian Olson © 2010

It is the carved arched doorway that is the subject of my work “Fire and Ice” which brings together several of the elements of the doorway. Done in ink and watercolour, the ink work was finished with orange and blue washes to highlight the contrast between the dragons and the facial elements. This image is available as cards or prints, for more details see my website

Hope you enjoy this Whimsy Wednesday post.

Just one more thing for today........ Go Canucks Go!