720 Robson Street: Past, Present, Future?

You may have noticed a bit of construction/demolition going on on the corner of Granville and Robson streets lately. The building that has stood at the corner for decades and, until recently, housed a myriad of interesting shops (including the delicious Babylon Cafe) is soon to meet its demise. I decided to dig up some archival photos and juxtapose them with the development renderings of the building that will soon stand at the corner of two of Vancouver’s most important streets. What do you think?

CVA 780-54 1967

CVA 779-W02.21 1981

CVA 772-725 1980-1997

Google Maps

Google Maps

Rendering for 720 Robson Street

Rendering for 720 Robson Street

Rendering for 720 Robson Street

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4 responses to “720 Robson Street: Past, Present, Future?

  1. I’m not entirely keen on the plan. It isn’t as if the existing building is a work of art or that the proposal is utterly horrid, but the existing building does have character, history and charm. Three things that are hard to quantify, but are not in abundance in Vancouver and its architectural landscape. I suppose that’s the building’s weakness, it doesn’t have enough space – and this is prime real estate, thus it’s probably a money looser. So it’s unfortunate that this building is being torn down and replaced by a typical glass and steel structure that’s become hugely monotonous and tiresome throughout Vancouver. The proposal is like a cancer really.

  2. I like the existing building a million times more with unpainted brick – wow. The new development proposed looks dark, ominous, and has a pretty terrible interface at street level – it’s only the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city, no need for a memorable, interesting, street level design, just throw some glass up and call it done.

    I agree with David – the old building wasn’t the greatest, but at least it had quirk, charm, and history on its side. The new one is just modern and typical.

  3. I agree entirely with David and LB. The older building could be made far more presentable by simply removing the ugly concrete awning, or redoing it in glass. It’s also a nice scale – far more friendly to its neighbors, especially the lovely beaux-arts building immediately to its south on Granville.

    Coming from the city of San Francisco (way back in 1969), I’ve never understood why the architecture and development in Vancouver is so ugly and ill-thought. The all-mighty buck drives all and – like everything else that’s motivated by profit – serves as the modus operandi for all demolition, design and planning. It wasn’t always so. There were a number of beautiful buildings constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And the older pre-1920 architecture resided comfortably amidst the new. Nowadays this city has the misfortune of looking more and more like Toronto or Calgary (i.e.: the soul-less shopping-mall aesthetic).

  4. Pingback: Preservation vs. The Future « Urban Studies·

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