Back in September 2013 I blogged about a Fred Hollingsworth designed house in North Vancouver that was sold, torn down and soon after flipped for land value that was more than the original house. Chris left a comment asking me if I could find a photo of another North Shore landmark, a futuristic-looking house that was painted a “shocking pink” and looked like a spaceship. “Ideas Brewing” added that he or she remember it as “the airplane house” on Taylor Way.
Wow, a bright pink flying house – what’s not to love about this!
And, now I understand why the house left such an imprint in the memories of people who grew up on the North Shore.
The Switzer house was built in 1960 at 840 Mathers near Taylor Way.
The house was the first of its kind in North America, a radical experiment that was designed to be built on a rocky building site or steep slope. The house was designed one Sunday by Henry “Curly” Switzer and attracted attention from all over the world.
According to an article in the West Vancouver Museum News (2007), it was adapted from a California style called “Googie,” born out of the car culture of the 1950s and ‘60s and influenced by the space race (and likely the Jetsons).
According to the article: “Structures that appear to float, swooping rooflines and otherwise futuristic shapes used in the construction and design of buildings of the time illustrated the promise new technology could make for a better and more progressive tomorrow.”
In 1994, Dorothy Foster, a North Shore News columnist wrote that the house had a circular staircase leading to the two bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, and two bathrooms that were on the wings, just off the central foyer—which also held the fireplace. A special plastic dome was designed for a skylight and the base of the centre cement support measured 17 feet wide.
Ironically, the house that was built on car culture was demolished in 1971 to make way for an extension to the Upper Levels Highway.
*Special thanks to the librarians at the West Vancouver Memorial Library and the West Vancouver Museum and Archives.
For more posts see: Our Missing Heritage
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