West Coast Modernism

Graham Residence  

Graham Residence, West Vancouver, 1965, Erickson and Massey architects, demolished 2008.


The post-war era in Vancouver defined what has become known as ‘West Coast Modernism’.

Through the work of seminal figures such as BC Binning, Ned Pratt, Ron Thom, Fred Hollingsworth, Douglas Simpson, Barry Downs and Arthur Erickson, Vancouver architects won national awards and international recognition for their innovative house designs.

West Coast Modernism takes all of the basic tenets of Mid-Century and Modernist architecture: clean lines, the use of materials in their most basic form, an efficient use of space, and adds an association to nature and an emphasis on local materials.

West Coast Modernism embraces our rugged terrain and uses our stormy climate and dense landscapes as inspiration resulting in homes that are functional with a high degree of connectivity to the outdoors.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who drew from Japanese design, had a big influence on West Coast Modernism. His organic use of natural wood, the Japanese affinity for open floor plans, and simple construction methods spoke to the relaxed West Coast lifestyle.

The hallmarks of West Coast Modernism are open floor plans, glass positioned to best utilize the surrounding elements such as views, water features and even the path of sunlight, heavy use of glass including floor to ceiling windows and expansive skylights, simple post and beam construction, heavy use of local materials particularly wood, flat roofs, and a harmonious relationship between the home and the surrounding landscaping.

Heritage Spotlight

Sky Bungalow The Sky Bungalow
3355 Aintree Dr. 1950.
Fred Hollingsworth, Architect

The Sky Bungalow is one of the icons of the development of Modernism on the West Coast. In 1950, developer Eric Allan and Architect Fred Hollingsworth approached the manager of the Hudson's Bay in Vancouver with an idea for promoting Allan's Capilano Highlands subdivision. They proposed to build a version of Hollingsworth's generic post-and-beam house on the Bay's Seymour Street parking lot. It would not only promote this new style of housing, but also modern furnishings and appliances, and the new postwar suburban lifestyle. The pitch was accepted, and the 'Sky Bungalow' was built and opened to the public. The design was similar to Hollingsworth's standard floor plans, but was lifted into the air on a concrete block pier and cantilevered on steel beams in order to minimize the amount of parking spaces affected. Rather than the usual ground-hugging appearance of these houses, the 'Sky Bungalow' had a dynamic, soaring profile that excited both thousands of visitors who toured it and the journalists of the time. It was considered startlingly contemporary, and was the first time that many people saw what soon became common features of the new West Coast houses. After the exhibition ended, the house was purchased and moved to Aintree Dr where it survives today in surprisingly original condition.

North Vancouver Market Update


In 2014, there were a total of 1232 houses sold. May was the busiest month with 145 houses sold.

The benchmark price peaked in December at $1,042,600.

The December 2014 benchmark price is up 9.8% from December 2013.



In 2014, there were a total of 900 apartments sold. June was the busiest month with 94 apartments sold.

The benchmark price peaked in December at $360,300.

The December 2014 benchmark price is up 3.2% from December 2013.


In 2014, there were a total of 16 heritage homes sold. May was the busiest month with 5 heritage homes sold.

The median price of a heritage home in 2014 was $1,235,000.

The median price of a heritage home is up 26% from 2013.

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