Iconic English Bay tower gets Douglas Coupland mural makeover (PHOTOS)

Sep 15 2021, 12:42 pm

A visually striking makeover has been applied to the exterior of a 16-storey tower at the prominent corner of Davie Street and Denman Street on the English Bay waterfront in downtown Vancouver’s West End.

Work on the mural, which covers all four sides of The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, was conducted over the last several weeks, with the finishing touches now being applied to the southeast facade of the building.

The mural is designed by renowned local artist Douglas Coupland, who described his concept as a “jewel box” made of a “distinctive combination of colourful geometric patterns that are at once old-fashioned yet futuristic.” The colours and shapes of the tilings are inspired by the buildings and public spaces in the coastal cities of Spain.

The colourful mural complements the whimsical “A-maze-ing Laughter” laughing men statues just across the street.

Previous condition:

the berkeley 1770 davie street vancouver before

Previous condition of The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Current condition:

The Berkeley 1770 Davie Street Vancouver Douglas Coupland Mural September 2021

Douglas Coupland mural progress, as of September 2, 2021, at The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The Berkeley 1770 Davie Street Vancouver Douglas Coupland Mural September 2021

Douglas Coupland mural progress, as of September 2, 2021, at The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

“The overall effect of this public artwork will be as an anchor point of where the city meets the ocean, and it will make a person feel like they are at the heart of something,” said Coupland in a previous statement.

“The building will redefine English Bay’s skyline and become a mandatory tourist stop for photos. I want people to daydream about living at The Berkeley.”

The Berkeley 1770 Davie Street Vancouver Douglas Coupland Mural September 2021

Douglas Coupland mural progress, as of September 2, 2021, at The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The Berkeley 1770 Davie Street Vancouver Douglas Coupland Mural September 2021

Douglas Coupland mural progress, as of September 2, 2021, at The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Reliance Properties, the owner of the building, commissioned Coupland to design the mural as part of The Berkeley’s extensive renovation to extend the lifespan of the building.

The 1958-built tower was gutted for a complete replacement of its plumbing, water, electrical and ventilation systems, major structural repairs and alterations, and rebuilds of all kitchens and bathrooms. There was also remediation of exterior walls, the building envelope, and life-safety equipment. This was the building’s first major retrofit in its six-decade history.

But the developer’s plans to renovate the tower caught controversy, with previous tenants fighting against the retrofits that would require their eviction. The developer acquired the building in 2016, the municipal government approved the renovation proposal in late 2019, and construction began in Spring 2020.

Reliance provided a compensation package that offered each unit $10,000 on average for their eviction, which is double the provincial government’s regulations. The level of compensation is based on the length of tenancy and unit size. As well, previous tenants have the first right of refusal to return at market rent rates.

Construction is expected to reach completion this fall.

The Berkeley 1770 Davie Street Vancouver Douglas Coupland Mural September 2021

Douglas Coupland mural progress, as of September 2, 2021, at The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The Berkeley 1770 Davie Street Vancouver Douglas Coupland Mural September 2021

Douglas Coupland mural progress, as of September 2, 2021, at The Berkeley at 1770 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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