Conservation proposed for downtown office of Vancouver Heritage Foundation

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      The City of Vancouver has received a development application for one of the oldest office towers downtown.

      The application includes the seismic upgrading, and the rehabilitation and conservation of the structure and exterior of the Standard Building.

      The 510 West Hastings Street highrise is home to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.

      The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a charitable organization created by the City of Vancouver to promote heritage conservation.

      The plan to seismically upgrade and conserve the 15-storey Standard Building received the unanimous support by members of the Vancouver Heritage Commission, a city advisory group.

      The commission backed the plan for the 1914-era building in a meeting Monday (November 22).

      The Standard Building is listed in the city’s heritage registry, but it has not been designated as a protected heritage property.

      Online, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation provides a history of the downtown office highrise.

      Towering majestically on the corner of West Hastings and Richards streets, this 15 storey Edwardian skyscraper was built in 1914 and was originally named the Weart Building in honor of his promoter. Designed by the Tacoma firm Russell and Babcock in a neo-gothic style, it was at the time of its inauguration the tallest single-slab office block in the city. The original plan proposed a more substantial use of gothic architectural features than what was built.

      While the top floors display neo-gothic decorations, such as heraldic crests, the base showcases classical hybrids as columns are crowned with urns that are paired with Ionic spirals. The ornamental ironwork was provided, similarly to the Birks and Seymour buildings, by the Chicago Ornamental Iron Company. Although the gothic cresting of the top floors was removed, the original plasterwork of the former banking hall of the Standard Bank was preserved along with the unique Cutler Mail box system of the lavish lobby.

      During the First World War, the Standard Bank Building’s offices were rented out to a number of war-related organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross Society. Today, the Standard Building houses the Vancouver Heritage Foundation office.