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The modern style became popular at the PNE in the period discussed in the fourth chapter, comprising 1960 to 1975
with modern designs every year except for one traditional house, entered ‘for a change’.
Out of the rough and tumble of the local building tradition, an authentic style developed with a simplicity of form and honesty of expression.
“42 The Hassell House in West 47 Vancouver in 1966 and the Hemsworth Residence in North Vancouver in 1969 are examples of what was being built by the leading architects of the day.
This style, sometimes referred to as Northwest Regional, was characterized by a clear sense of proportion, composition and scale and an integration of the indoors with the outdoors, including retention of native vegetation, wide use of cedar (often diagonal), large expanses of glass including skylights, simple shed roofs, and numerous decks.
43 Most houses in this time period however did not integrate so beautifully with the site; of course, few properties in Vancouver rivaled the natural beauty of the north shore locations, and houses, for the most part, were simple ranchers or split-levels with the contractors’ favoured cladding material combined with white stucco.
Rancher describes a large variety of contemporary single storey houses, usually with basements that used to be referred to as bungalows.
“Characteristics usually included large picture windows, sliding glass doors to exterior patios, low-sloped roofs, a variety of materials on the exterior and an attached carport or garage;
various other styles (including Japanese, Tudor and Spanish) were often incorporated as ornament.”.
Split-level houses continued their popularity into the 1960s although the difficulty of moving this dwelling likely precluded its inclusion as a Prize Home.
The previously mentioned Vancouver Special, a two-storey dwelling (no basement) with attached two-car carport or garage with deck above at rear was designed to house two (or more) families, in a single-family zone.
“Characteristics of this house included main living spaces on the upper floor, low pitched gable roof facing street, stock doors and windows and a variety of exterior finish materials.
The popular combination of their low price with maximum square footage and maximum site coverage resulted in construction of an estimated ten percent of Vancouver’s detached single-family housing stock in the 1970s.
As a response to the energy crisis of the early 1970s, passive and active solar houses were appearing although in limited numbers.
Distinct forms were created by extensive 48 use of glass and solar panels facing south and using the sun as an energy source.
Another response was retrofitting where existing houses were made more efficient by replacing single paned windows with double paned glass units and adding insulation to walls and roofs.
Prize Home History The rancher, split-level and Vancouver Special can be considered the last original domestic styles in the Lower Mainland; a series of revival styles has followed.
The 1960s saw a new direction in Prize Homes at the PNE.
Although the Pan-abodes of the 1950s had been successful prizes and it was decided to continue with the house as the main prize package, there was also interest in avoiding some of the financial problems of 1959.
Keith Beedie, a local contractor who became president of The Beedie Group which specializes in the design, construction, and management of industrial buildings in the Lower Mainland, had been involved in the PNE of the late 1940s.
He built show fronts for Happyland, the first amusement park at the fair and, later, he ran an ice cream stand during the Exhibition. In his words:
I constructed five PNE Prize Homes from 1960 through 1964 with each house being an experience in itself.
In 1960 I submitted a house plan to Chatelaine Magazine and won the “Home of the Year Contest”.
The home had to be constructed in Greater Vancouver, with Chatelaine providing the furnishings and put on display for a minimum of two weeks.
I contacted the PNE and ‘sold’ the idea of utilizing this home for the prize home. If I recall correctly, the PNE paid me $10,000 for the total package (my only cost was labour, everything else I had donated) and after the fair, I supervised the move onto the PNE’s lot in Burnaby.
In each of the five years, I moved the PNE home and had it set up, complete with landscaping, seven days after the PNE closed. A part of my agreement with the PNE was that I could utilize the home for the parade of homes that used to take place a week or two after the PNE was over.
I will never forget the person who won the fourth house complaining after they moved in that one of the glass shades on a light fixture had a small crack in it and what was the PNE going to do about it!
The fifth house was the first two-storey house built for the PNE prize home.
During the fair, he also manned the house, handed out advertising 50 T h e Assoc ia t ion itself was aware o f the importance o f change to the Pr ize Homes .
Why then were the Prize Homes of this period mainly of a prefab construction, simple rectangles with little drama or formal style?
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One fairgoer, then a young girl, recently observed:
“Every year, our family waited in line to visit the PNE Prize Home.
We lived in a 1910 house at the time and, as a girl and teenager, I loved seeing the modern interiors and was transfixed with the idea of a better world.
How ironic that the later Prize Homes have tried to replicate her 1910 house.
Of course they were a serviceable 6 answer to an enormous concern, but Vancouver’s leading architects were also involved with budget conscious design during this time.
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