A Palace of ParallamMonday, May 21, 2018
It was in 2006 that I attended a blogging convention called Northern Voice at UBC. It was held at the Forest Sciences Centre. From the outside the building looked like many of the buildings around it. To this amateur it was Vancouver post-mini-brutalism. Inside it was another matter.
I believe that the UBC Forest Sciences Centre is one of the great and beautiful Vancouver buildings that few know about.
If you go to the Centre’s website you will not find out who the architects were. A plaque on the wall informed me who they were: Dalla-Dowling Knapp Architects DGBK.
The building has one flaw according to the students I talked to. Although all classrooms are air-conditioned the huge atrium is not and it was already hot today when I took these photographs using both my Fuji X-E1 and my iPhone3G that has no SIM card. I ran into an American from Michigan who was taking pictures of the place with his phone. He had a huge smile on his face. He told me he was waiting for someone outside who was going to be late. So he stumbled into the building.
In November of 1987 I photographed Derek Barnes who is the co-inventor of Parallam. The photo and small article appeared in the December issue of the Vancouver business magazine (now defunct) Equity. Read about Parallam in the scan I have of the piece.
The Forest Sciences Centre is an ode to Parallam. There are beams everywhere of this incredibly strong and stable product.
I felt melancholy that many of the forest companies that gave money and are featured in some of the areas are now gone. It is as if the building is a monument to a bygone era.
Every time I go into this lovely building I am amazed as to how few of the people I know are aware of its existence. The folks of the Vancouver Art Gallery who want to build a series of shoe boxes (made of wood) one on top of each other might have a look at this building.
At one time (and sometimes) I say to people that Vancouver is beautiful in spite of its architecture. Inside this building all that is forgotten.
I was pleasantly surprised to see one (there are a few more) paintings by Lorri-Ann Latremouille which I remember seeing some years ago at the Patrich Gallery on Granville. They fit in superbly in the atrium that has a Bill Reid canoe hanging from the ceiling.
It costs $3.00 to park for an hour. I can think of no better way to spend my money.
The iPhone3G shots