Choklit, Vancouver Town House, BC Home, The Fairview Property, Canadian Design, Photos
Choklit : Vancouver Town House
New British Columbia Real Estate, Canada – design by architect Arthur Erickson
8 + 7 Jun 2014
Location: The Fairview, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Architect: Arthur Erickson
Vancouver Town House by Modernist Architect
Choklit by Arthur Erickson : a rarely available town house hits the Vancouver market.
Article by Reed Hortie
As a young architect Arthur Erickson had an office in The Fairview neighbourhood of Vancouver British Columbia. It was in a building, which also housed Purdy’s Chocolates. So it was not surprising when many years later he had the opportunity to design a triplex in the same area he called it “Choklit”.
Fairview is a truly ideal location within Vancouver. Everything the city has to offer is a stone’s throw away. Aptly named, Fairview offers some of the most desirable views in the city. And among views to be had in Fairview, Choklit’s is at the top.
Built in 2005, Choklit has all of the hallmarks of an Erickson design, consisting of glass, steel and concrete with just a few well-placed touches of fir wood.
The exterior looks decidedly commercial. Each of the three side-by-side town homes has a glass façade with a large set of double doors. They appear as commercial showrooms, and indeed they very well may be. Fairview enjoys a rather unique zoning, which allows for light commercial use. The FM-1 zoning is divided into three sub-areas called simply one, two and three. Choklit is in sub-area two which means up to fifteen percent can be used for commercial purposes. Inside the double doors is a room, which makes up, you guessed it, fifteen percent of the total square footage of 2,793. The current owners use this as an office/showroom for the clothing design aspect of their children’s apparel company. This room would be an ideal architect’s office. The ceiling is over twenty feet high and so is the glass wall facing the street.
Looking further into the space there is a small exposed staircase leading to what the current owners are using for their living room. The massive chandelier hints at the other purpose this room could be put to, a very grand and yet intimate formal dining room.
The walls are perfect for hanging art and so are the gallery lights in the ceiling. The massive wall of windows below has a remote control blind as well as black-out drapes for total privacy and light control. Here we first encounter the central staircase, which runs from this level all the way up to the roof. At its apex is a glass ceiling, one of three in the home.
This creates a light well that is pure Erickson. The architect took pains to create pathways for the light to penetrate so many of the spaces it can only be described as brilliant. One of the triplex owners has embraced this concept so much he removed the fir treads on the exposed staircase replacing them with glass.
The fascinating thing about this design is its malleability. The current owners have created a very warm and inviting home with soft furnishings and well loved items. The overall effect is “Modernist Bohemian”. But others have used the same space to house much more formal design. The space seems to accommodate the occupants in a way that few spaces do. It is in many ways a blank canvas. But what a canvas!
Moving past the staircase we pass a powder room and the laundry room which holds a secret, a trap door in the ceiling pulls down to reveal a stair to a cleverly hidden mechanical room and storage area.
Finally we arrive at the massive eat-in kitchen. It is all stainless steel with top end appliances but what takes the breath away is the volume of space particularly above the eat-in area. The ceiling soars thirty feet and once again it is a ceiling of glass. Looking up one sees the upper floor to one side, the translucent wall of the private garage on the other and the cantilevered stairway that bridges the two areas.
Having had a hint of the splendors above we return to the main staircase and head to the second floor. At the landing we go left and pass a bathroom and then come to the landing overlooking the kitchen. On our left is a massive room enclosed by two fir and art-glass pocket doors. When the home was built this was labeled a den but owners have mostly used it for a very large bedroom. The current owners have two young children and so commissioned an architect associated with Erickson to divide the space into two children’s bedrooms each with a cozy loft bed. This feature was designed for easy removal should an incoming owner prefer a two bedroom unit or even a one bedroom with a massive den/media room.
Moving back down the hall and past the staircase one comes to another pocket door of fir and art-glass. This is the entrance to the master suite. Inside we first encounter a very large walk-in closet again with the by now familiar fir and glass doors.
Moving past it we come to the master en-suite. This room never fails to elicit the same word from all that view it. That word is “wow”. It is so luxurious and yet so modern. Light floods in from a translucent wall above the twin sinks and sets the avant-garde fixtures gleaming. Italian glass tiles reflect this light and create warmth that words and photographs are ill equipped to convey.
Past the en-suite we find the source of the natural light flooding it: the bed chamber with a glass wall that wraps around and becomes the glass ceiling. This is pure Erickson. The glass wall has double doors to open creating a modernist Juliette balcony
The ceiling, like that in the kitchen has a hidden cover operated by remote control. In this room there are also black-out drapes. The room can go from full on daylight to pitch black in a matter of moments. Outside the window a cherry tree provides privacy to the bedroom but through it’s branches we get glimpses of the view that awaits us on the roof.
Ascending the last set of steps to the roof top deck one notices that the landings each provide a space for the homeowner to create vignettes and display treasures. There is even room for a sun drenched reading nook.
At the very top of the stairs is the glass ceiling, which now reveals itself as a glass hatch to the outside. Slide it open and you arrive on the roof. The roof is landscaped and large with hook-ups for water, gas and electricity for easy entertaining but what demands attention is the jaw dropping view.
Vancouver is laid out before us. Many have said it is the best view in Vancouver, encompassing as it does English Bay, False Creek, the skyline of downtown and the majestic mountain backdrop to it all.
Currently listed for sale by Reed Hortie and Elise Lambert of RE/MAX Crest West-side, this property is offered at 2.5 million Canadian. It is a rare opportunity to own a fantastic showpiece of a town home and a stellar example of the work of Canada’s own Arthur Erickson, the modernist genius.
Photos: Kate- Video Open House
Choklit – Vancouver Town House images / information received 060614
Arthur Erickson architect
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