I’ve been thinking recently about how boom-times affect the ‘personality’ of a city. It seems to me that Vancouver is a very ‘eighties’ style city, likely due in part to the Expo 86 construction boom. All over this city you see eighties style glass roofs held up with powder coat trusses, lots of white and turquoise, and stylistic renovations that combine the architectural styles of multiple eras.
A couple of specific examples of this amalgam can be found at city square mall (12 & cambie) or Sinclair Center at Waterfront center. Both of these examples combine old stone architecture from the early twentieth century with the ‘modern’ style of the eighties.
I wonder about the long term mark that a boom puts on a city. I’m sure we all have our favorite type of architecture and can’t agree on whats ‘good’ or ‘bad’ aesthetically, but what about construction standards? There are a large number of condominiums built in the eighties that had water ingress issues leading to the ‘leaky condo crisis’ of the nineties. Have we got that problem solved? Are the huge number of condo towers currently under construction being built to a solid reliable standard, or are we cutting corners and setting ourselves up for another construction quality crisis?
And when it comes to aesthetics, which new buildings will we look back on in twenty years and be proud of, and which ones will be the equivalent of blue eyeshadow, parachute pants and super high wall-o-bangs?