HERITAGE HALL ARCHITECTURE
Vancouver’s architectural history between 1880 and 1915, shows an amazing increase in building sophistication in architectural design and technical construction capability. Built in 1914-16, Postal Station “C” (now Heritage Hall) is the culmination of this period in terms of both craftsmanship and design. The building design is a competent and quite sophisticated exercise in Beaux Arts Classicism and has outstanding architectural value.
The nearly square, three-storey building with its projecting pavilions, clock tower and high-hipped roof shows the typical Edwardian inclination towards the spectacular, adorned as it is in lavish 18th century ornamentation and stonework.
Sculptured columns and pilasters topped in vaguely Corinthian capitals are set into the two Main Street facades. Sandstone festoons decorate the facade, while a series of sculpted, nameless faces above the second storey windows show exceptional skill. (Only the face of King George V that sits above the main hall entrance is identifiable.) The elaborate ornamental scheme in local stone shows that a body of skilled craftsmen were available to the builders.
The ground floor walls are banded with dark-toned Haddington Island stone between layers of lighter Denman Island stone, giving a variegated look to the street level. The floor above is of brick with stone trim. (The Haddington Island stone was also used on the Hotel Vancouver and the Courthouse.)
The roof is red tile, crowned with copper ornamentation and lanterns. The building is dominated by a clock-tower with a mechanical clock and a working bell, built by the J.B. Joyce & Co. of Whitchurch, England.
Inside the building a significant amount of original detail remains on the main floor, including an exceptional carved red marble staircase. The main floor was re-designed as a grand ballroom in 1983. It has a patterned tile floor, embellished columns, a trompe l’oeil mural, stained glass windows and chandeliers. Paint colours were chosen based on the building’s exterior architectural style. A decision was made to play with the 18th century French Provincial use of softer hues like the rosey pink of the columns and the sky-blue of the ceiling.
The building was designed by Archibald Campbell Hope and completed in 1916. Hope was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1870 and had practised in San Francisco before moving to Vancouver in 1908. In Vancouver he also designed the Central Hotel and several apartments in the West End.
Heritage Hall was designated a heritage building by the City of Vancouver in 1974 and was included in the first list of buildings identified by the City as having historical importance.