2870 West 47th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6N, Canada
Clarence Saba Residence
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Saba Residence consists of a two-storey, rectangular wood-frame house with stepped flat roofs and clapboard siding. It is located on a standard residential lot, amidst mature landscaping in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver.
The Saba Residence is important for its historic, cultural and aesthetic significance, in particular for its association with architect Ned Pratt and the Westcoast Modern design movement of the 1940s.
Built in 1947, the Saba Residence was designed by Ned Pratt, a local architect who was a pivotal figure, both provincially and nationally, in the development of Modern architecture. Pratt's design is an early example of the post-and-beam framing that evolved with distinction on the West Coast of British Columbia, as can be seen in a quote from this contemporary magazine article: "Due to the relatively mild climate, large glass areas and considerable indoor-outdoor access have become traditional in the local residential field. [The post and beam system] gradually grew from being an incidental wall to the point where it became a structural system. One of the principal investigators of this method [was] Ned Pratt, and one of his earliest uses of it was in the Saba House" (Keith Davison in RAIC Journal, Sep 1950).
The Saba Residence is also important for representing a desire to reconfigure the domestic realm to better reflect suburban family life. The use of the latest wood framing innovations, as well as a floor plan that integrated both private garden and public auto court with the house proper, demonstrates the collaboration of the architect and client to devise novel forms of suburban housing.
The Saba Residence is an early and fine example of what became known as the Westcoast Modern style, which can be identified by the use of modest construction materials in their natural state, the post-and-beam construction method, the workable floor plan of modest size that is uncluttered and open, an interior layout which is expressed on the exterior, the stepped flat roofs, exposed stairs, split levels, and a close connection between the interior and exterior through glazing.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of the Saba Residence include:
Siting, Context and Landscape
- Terracing of sloping site related to house functions
- House and perimeter fencing and hedging forming a private south-facing garden associated with the main living area
- Garage attached at perpendicular angle, forming an auto court in front of house
- Ground floor main living spaces at grade
- Large expanse of windows on the south elevation
- Clapboard siding used as exterior and interior (living room) finish
- Wood frame post-and-beam construction
- Exterior walls with operating sash windows and horizontal bevelled siding panels between 3" x 8" posts
- The manner in which the house is nestled into the yard and becomes a private oasis
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.582
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Cross-Reference to Collection