Westcoast Transmission Building
1333 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6E, Canada
Westcoast Transmission Building
Westcoast Energy Building
Links and documents
1968/01/01 to 1969/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Westcoast Transmission Building consists of a twelve-storey dark-glazed rectangular tower suspended by cables from a central concrete entry/elevator core. It is prominently located on a multi-leveled plaza on the north side of West Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver.
The Westcoast Transmission Building is significant for its historical, technical and aesthetic values, most notably for its unique cable suspension system of construction. This system was a widely-endorsed response to increasing seismic design requirements, and makes the building one of Vancouver's most identifiable landmarks in the downtown core.
Constructed in 1968-69 for the Westcoast Transmission Company Ltd., this landmark building is indicative of the continued expansion of Vancouver's central business district during the corporate building boom in late 1960s and early 1970s, which was fuelled by the transfer of corporate headquarters to Vancouver. Resource development companies such as the Westcoast Transmission Company, incorporated in 1949 by a Special Act of Parliament to build British Columbia's first gas-processing plant at Taylor, British Columbia, and Canada's first large pipeline, are particularly representative of the city's corporate expansion.
The building exhibits the Modernist interest in structural innovation and technology. Its dramatic suspension bridge construction facilitated a continued view of the North Shore from Georgia Street, but more importantly, symbolized to the public a corporate response to severe earthquake hazard. Its simple glazed curtain wall box draws attention to the structural innovation, which garnered international recognition as the recipient of the 1970-71 Design in Steel Award from the American Iron and Steel Institute.
The building's structural consultant, Bogue Babicki, of the architecture firm of Rhone and Iredale, is representative of the convergence of European engineering and design expertise with local design challenges, facilitated by the post-WWII immigration of professionals schooled in the European experimental approach.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of the Westcoast Transmission Building include:
Siting, Context and Landscape
- Location to the west of the central business district
- Open plan at plaza level with views from the street to Burrard Inlet retained under the suspended building
- Uniformly coloured cubic volume
- Glazed curtain wall using dark-coloured glass and spandrel glass
- Exposed bundles of structural cables
- Column-free underground parking
- Vertical transportation and service spaces grouped into the central concrete core
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.582
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
Architect / Designer
Rhone and Iredale
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Cross-Reference to Collection