Our Missing West Coast Modern Heritage: what were we thinking?

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2895 Newmarket Drive, North Vancouver:


Demolished in 2013

“Steps to Edgemont Village – exceptional location! This three-bedroom Hollingsworth designed rancher has incredible potential to renovate or build new on this 8050 sq. ft. lot. Classic post and beam style w/open living areas including incredible gardens, a large private rear patio off the family room featuring a built in BBQ and a pond. $1,299,000.” Realtor’s ad September 2012.

1950

Fred Thornton Hollingsworth designed this house in 1950. The house was on the Heritage Register because of its post and beam construction and because it was a fine example of West Coast modern architecture in a brief time when it was thought that it was more important to blend a house into its surroundings then impose itself on it.

Fred Hollingsworth House 1950

The house sold, the new owner applied for a demolition permit and within a month the beautiful mid-century house and garden were gone. A couple of months later a For Sale went up again. The new real estate agent waxed on about what a “spectacular opportunity” it was to buy this empty lot.

Built in 1950 demolished 2013Architect Mark Thompson has pre-drawn plans approved for someone’s “dream home” – a 5,000 sq.ft. five-bedroom six-and-a-half bathroom mega house. Seriously can someone explain to me the appeal of so many bathrooms? The lot which was raped of its garden setting and house was immediately put back up for sale for $1,369,000, sending a clear message to developers that a lot is worth $70,000 more if it doesn’t have a heritage house on it.

For more posts see: Our Missing Heritage

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

 

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15 comments

    1. That’s true, and I think we should be providing some disincentives to developers. For starters make developers pay for putting these houses into the landfill, put up the cost of demolition, make red tape more onerous when it comes to knocking down these places and give tax incentives to heritage house owners

  1. Perhaps you could find a photo of another (former) North Vancouver landmark…that pink, cross-shaped, futuristic-looking house that, 15 or 20 year ago, used to sit in the midst of what is now the Upper Levels highway.

  2. It was on Upper Levels Highway, not far (west, I believe) of the highway intersection with Lonsdale. When they widened the highway into two sides about 1980-85 or so with a verge in the middle it was left orphaned, standing in the middle between the two sides, and was soon razed. It was shocking PINK and looked rather like a spaceship, with the four second-floor ‘wings’ extending out over the ground from the small two-story central core. Perhaps a few of your old North Van readers can remember it?

      1. Librarians at the West Vancouver Memorial Library researched that a couple of years ago and found this article: chrome://external-file/Newsletter_May2007.pdf
        And a clipping in the Local museum:
        chrome://external-file/007.7-1.B52.pdf

  3. I agree that tearing down this heritage house, only to put the empty lot up for sale, shows a complete lack of respect by the seller. I do believe that the $70,000 difference in price is likely related to the cost of drawing up the plans, applying for permits, demolition, and then sorting and trucking the various pieces to the landfill.

    On the positive side, that lovely Japanese maple in your first photo, all the rock from the pond, 4 very hardy fish, and even a chunk of the old fireplace brick, now reside in two separate gardens in North Vancouver. It is still a shame though as that was one very lovely garden, and I am certain that the District would have gladly allowed the homeowner to build an addition that would sit on top of the existing house, thus allowing for the garden to be retained.

  4. I remember the pink spaceship floating cross house. But I’m older than you 😉
    Other than that fine memory / smile this story is heartbreaking…

  5. I remember that house. We called it \”the airplane house\” when we were kids. (I was born in \’56). I remember it as being on the lower side of the highway west of Taylor Way, not Lonsdale. Memories

  6. Hi Eve, an old friend from your ad agency days here. I just bought a place in north van similar to this in a sentimental effort to restore it to it’s former glory. Not sure if you’d like to follow it, but I’d love to walk you through the restoration process for this blog. We (me and the wife) intend to be very sensitive to the modernist aesthetic of 1960, while taking advantage of modern materials. Just a thought. Ping if you’d like to say hi. 604 816 9766. Cheers. Chris Neary

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