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Gardner Residence

3152 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/03/01

Exterior view of the Gardner Residence; City of Vancouver, 2006
East elevation
Exterior view of the Gardner Residence; City of Vancouver, 2006
North elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

Gardner Residence
Kenneth Gardner Residence
Gardner House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/02/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Gardner Residence is a two-storey, flat-roofed concrete structure, with the primary living spaces over ground level rooms and an open carport at its western end. Its exterior brick-clad walls are mostly solid to the street and glazed on the garden side. It is located in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver.

Heritage Value

Built in 1958, the Gardner Residence is important for its historic and cultural significance and in particular for its revolutionary, formal design that stands apart from its context.

Designed by architect Kenneth Gardner, the house exhibits the radical rethinking of the suburban house form, for which the Vancouver architectural community gained international recognition during the 1940s and 1950s. The dramatic initial view of the house, with its main living spaces floating over an open parking area, conveys both the new central role of the automobile in post-war suburban Vancouver, as well as an eagerness for the contemporary mode of living that was a hallmark of the times.

The innovative spirit behind the choice of construction method is characteristic of Modernist design practice. The house was the first in Canada to be built using a technique normally reserved for high-rise buildings, namely, concrete lift-slab construction. The plan of the house is noteworthy for the dynamic interplay of interior and exterior spaces, volumes and voids. The minimalist landscaping was designed as a contrast with the house's semi-rural setting by the well-known and respected firm of Muirhead and Justice Landscape Architects.

The Gardner Residence won an Award of Honour from the Architectural Institute of B.C./Western Homes and Living competition in 1960. It was described in the magazine as having a design that "reflects the contemporary interest in formality and dignity; its materials indicate a new respect for solidity and strength; and its construction shows a desire to explore promising new building techniques" (June 1961, p.16).

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Gardner Residence include:

Siting, Context and Landscape
- Minimalist elements on unrelieved flat plain
- Patio is a visual extension of indoor recreation room

Architectural Qualities
- Minimalist detailing
- Simple geometric form, which appears to float above the ground
- Play of window proportions in walls against windowless wall area

Architectural Elements
- Rectangular plan
- Carport under the overhang of the main floor slab
- Strip windows
- Flat roof, minimal concrete lift-slabs, and slender steel columns
- Brick facing with subtle relief embellishment
- Mostly solid north facade; mostly glazed south facade facing garden and sun

Landscape elements
- Perimeter planting
- Minimalist design on unrelieved flat plane
- Cedar rounds placed in gravel to form the patio at the back
- Extensive paved auto court and open carport area
- Ends of structural columns recycled as paving stones
- Open concrete block work dividing carport from front entry walkway



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.593

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Kenneth Gardner



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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