Description of Historic Place
Bayview Community School is a two-storey (with raised basement), brick-clad school on a 2.18-acre site in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. Begun in 1914 and constructed in a Classical Revival style, the school was designed to the popular ‘barbell’ plan, with two classroom wings flanking the central core. The principal elevation faces Collingwood Street. A gymnasium and lunchroom extend from the west (rear) elevation, which is unified with a large mural. A covered play area extends to the south.
The grounds are divided into playing fields and a number of outdoor ‘rooms’ that contain playground equipment. A chain-link mesh fences surrounds the school on all sides. The street boulevards surrounding the school have been planted with evenly spaced mature deciduous trees.
Bayview Community School has heritage value for both its architecture and its history. Its opening in 1914 is associated with the rapid expansion of Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood before World War I. The completion of the south wing in 1929 is also linked to civic history. With the annexation of Point Grey by the City of Vancouver in that year, the school’s catchment area expanded and new classrooms were needed.
The chronology of Bayview’s physical development has value for being representative of many schools. The first phase (north wing) was built in 1914 in a Classical Revival style and faced in brick; the substantial south portion and gymnasium, completing the original ‘barbell’ plan, were added in the late 1920s; and additions and improvements were made after World War II. The architects were all accomplished school designers. The initial portion was designed by either N.A. Leech or C.W. Egan, and the 1929 wing by H.W. Postle.
Bayview Community School contains many standard features that represented good school design and responded to the changing curriculum and pedagogy. For example, the importance attached to ventilation and good lighting is illustrated particularly well by the large louvered vents evident in several first-floor classrooms and in the large windows and transoms. A Bayview alumnus remembers the school for ‘its large windows, which let in the warm sunshine and a fresh breeze.’ The open area teaching space, created in 1971-72, illustrates the new classroom concept and provides an example of how spaces were adapted to respond to pedagogical change.
Bayview Community School also has value for its particularly strong tradition of parent participation and community involvement. The first Parent-Teacher Association in Vancouver was organized here. The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) took an active part in shaping the physical environment. For example, in 1970 parents, teachers, students, and landscape architect Art Cowie designed and installed a creative play area. In 1973, Bayview’s PTA successfully petitioned for designation as a community school, the first in the City. Programming aimed at integrating school and community flourished, and continues in the intense community use.
Student memories, teachers’ careers, and neighbourhood history together contribute to the intangible values of Bayview Community School. Artifacts and photographs kept in the school and maintained there reflect the interest taken by staff, students, and community in the school's history and heritage.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of Bayview Community School include:
- tradition of use as a school
- views to the North Shore Mountains
- location in a single-family residential context
Exterior and Form
- the ‘barbell’ plan (i.e., two classroom wings flanking a central core) and its symmetrical form
- restrained classical features, including pediment-like gables and pilasters at the corners of the wings (some classical features have been removed)
- multi-paned (mostly 6-over-6) double-hung sash windows
- red-brown brick walls, with running courses of cast-in-place concrete that produce a red-and-white banded pattern
- pediment-like gabled parapets, including the one over main entry, incised ‘Bayview School’
- other exterior details, such as the concrete sills and continuous lintels, metal cornice with dentils, exterior staircase to the principal entrance
- intact spatial configuration of many interior spaces, including the high ceilings, original millwork and wide casings, coved ceilings, clocks, public-address speakers, high baseboards, multi-paned and multi-paneled doors with original hardware, exposed mechanical systems, and radiators
- cloakrooms adjacent to classrooms, with built-in fixtures and coat hooks
- blackboards and millwork in the classrooms
- open-concept teaching space on the second floor, which reflects changing pedagogy
- dedicated art room on the second floor, which reflects the changing curriculum
- features of the gymnasium/auditorium, including the clerestory windows, wall-mounted metal gym equipment, dressing rooms with built-ins and fixtures, and the stage with stair access on either side
- supporting spaces, such as the fireproof projection room, bathrooms with original plumbing fixtures and tile work, ventilation grilles, and interior transoms
Landscape and Grounds
- specimen trees
- metal flagpole
- small, purpose-built ‘hill’ at the southwest corner of the property