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Marine Building

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Identification

Marine Building
113268

Map

Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
steel
concrete
brick
terra-cotta
applied masonry
brown
art deco

Usages

office

Facts

  • One of the most prominent legacies of Vancouver's growing prosperity. During the 1930s it was the tallest skyscraper in the city.
  • On completion, the Marine Building was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth; a title it held for over a decade.
  • In 1928, Captain F.C. Johnson, president of G.A. Stimson & Co., paid $300,000 for the building site.
  • City mayor W.H. Malkin blew a gold whistle to start excavation in mid-March 1929.
  • Opened in October, 1930 $1.1 million over budget at $2.3 million, but due to the Depression was sold to the Guinness family of Ireland for only $900,000.
  • Opening during the Depression, yet the building initially housed 98 tenants despite the economic ills of the day, and grew to 144 tenants by 1937.
  • The Marine Building was the first skyscraper for McCarter, the building engineer, and Nairne, the architect.
  • Brainchild of Lt. Commander J.W. Hobbs of Toronto. Commander Hobbs, was a vice-president of the Toronto bond trading company, G.A. Stimson.
  • Inside the massive brass-doored elevators the walls are inlaid with 12 varities of local hardwoods.
  • The exterior is studded with flora and fauna, tinted in sea-green and touched with gold.
  • The high-speed elevators installed in 1930 operated at 700 feet per minute when the average for the day was only around 150 feet per minute, a real thrill-ride for the 1930s.
  • The main entranceway pays tribute to Captain George Vancouver with his ship on the horizon framed by a rising sun.
  • The Grand Concourse lobby is 27 meters long.
  • All over the walls and polished brass doors are depictions of sea snails, skate, crabs, turtles, carp, scallops, seaweed and sea horses.
  • The five high-speed elevators travel only to the 18th floor, but there is a four-person elevator to take you from the 18th floor to the penthouse.
  • In the 1930s above the 19th floor offices was a two-storey, three-level penthouse with a wraparound terrace, which was supposed to be used as an observation deck, but nobody could afford the 25-cent admission price in the Depression.
  • The building sits on a bluff and used to be located right on the water's edge until everything north was filled in for railroad tracks, and then condo/hotel development and a $525 million convention centre.
  • Used in the construction of the Marine Building were 2,000 tons of steel, one million cubic yards of brick, 72,000 sacks of cement, 1,046,000 feet of lumber, 172,000 sq. ft. of hollow tile, 75 miles of wiring in the elevators and 54 miles of wiring in the rest of the building, plus 950 windows and 2,100 panes of glass.
  • The Marine Building was designed by its architects to emulate a rocky promontory rising from the sea.
  • In 2004 the Marine Building was 100% occupied with about 800 people working in 40 businesses, including one tenant, Marine Printers, who has been in the basement since the building opened October 8, 1930.
  • In the 2005 hit sci-fi movie Fantastic Four, the Marine Building served as headquarters for the super heroes.
  • Headquarters of the Daily Planet in the television show Smallville.

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More Information

Location

355 Burrard Street
355 Burrard Street
V6C
Downtown
Vancouver
British Columbia
Canada

Technical Data

320.87 ft
21
4
Mar 1929
Oct 1930
5
$2,300,000

Involved Companies


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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
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