Description of Historic Place
The R.V. Winch Building, an impressive, five-storey office block built in the Beaux-Arts Classical style, is situated along West Hastings and Howe Street in downtown Vancouver. It is distinguished by its symmetrical design, steel and reinforced concrete construction and stone exterior. The main entrance features a pediment of cut stone bearing the original owner’s initials. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The R.V. Winch Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The R.V. Winch Building is associated with the North American trend towards larger and higher commercial office buildings. The Winch Building was at the forefront of the general movement which saw an increasing concentration of major commercial buildings along West Hastings, West Pender and Granville Streets in downtown Vancouver. Owner and builder R.V. Winch was a Vancouver based entrepreneur whose firm was engaged in such diverse activities as shipping, insurance, real estate, and consular representation for Norway and Sweden.
The R.V. Winch Building is an excellent example of a commercial building built in the Beaux-Arts Classical style. It also has engineering significance as Vancouver’s first building of steel cage construction. The most ornate and sophisticated of Thomas Hooper’s commercial designs, the Winch Building marks his first major work incorporating steel and concrete construction.
The R.V. Winch Building is an integral component and establishes the charcter of the commercial/ warehouse block of buildings of which it is a part of in downtown Vancouver. Together with the Post Office, it is part of a cohesive architectural group without parallel in the province, known as the Sinclair Centre.
R.V. Winch Building, Vancouver, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report, 83-025; R.V. Winch Building, Vancouver, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement, 83-025.
The character-defining elements of the R.V. Winch Building should be respected.
Its Beaux-Arts Classical Style, and steel cage construction, for example:
-the symmetrical design about a central axis, and building boundaries defined by full
height rusticated corner pilasters;
-the classically inspired features that include oversized columns, a deep decorative
cornice, an ornate cut stone pediment at the main entrance;
-the pattern, form and materials of the windows and openings that include arched ground
floor windows and paired upper windows framed by engaged columns;
-the steel cage structural system encased in concrete and resting on granite piers;
-the concrete floors that are supported by steel beams encased in concrete and connected
to the steel columns embedded in the masonry walls.
The manner in which the R.V. Winch building is an integral component and establishes the character of a commercial/ warehouse block in downtown Vancouver as evidenced by:
-its close integration of design, materials and composition with the adjacent buildings,
including the Post Office, that are collectively known as the Sinclair Centre.