A real-life ‘Up’ house? Vancouver developer wants to build commercial building around century-old home
A unique development proposal aims to save a Vancouver heritage house, getting inspiration from an iconic Seattle home and a certain Pixar movie.
The 2009 film Up tells the story of a man who refused to sell his home as new buildings are constructed around him.
Unlike the film, the idea for the Vancouver project was not born out of a conflict between developers and a stubborn homeowner. Instead, it came out of the desire to preserve a home that was recently given heritage status by the city.
The new five-storey, mixed-used commercial building would be built around the Coulter House, which was built in 1901.
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“Our goal is to keep as much of the original home as we can and then restore those pieces,” Ben Taddei, chief operating officer of Conswest Group of Companies, said.
The home would be moved off the property (not by tying balloons to it so it floats away) and taken apart piece by piece.
It will then be put back together and incorporated into the new modern building planned for the site on West 6th Avenue between Manitoba and Ontario Streets.
“Whether we restore off-site or we restore on-site, we still have to determine, but it gets delivered back to the development property when the new building is finished and literally bolted to the facade of the building,” Taddei said.
It’s not exactly the same as the little house featured in Up, but there may have been some inspiration.
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“I know that movie because my daughter is 11 so I’ve seen that movie at least 50 times so I see the resemblance,” Taddei said with a laugh.
The film Up was inspired in part by the story of a Seattle home. Edith Macefield turned down a $1-million offer for her small Ballard home to make way for a new, larger building. The complex was built around her house. Macefield lived there until her death in 2008.
As for Vancouver, there are other examples of new buildings working with existing structures. On Oak Street, a new residential tower was built from the Sante Fe Apartments, which were built in 1928.
— With files from Jill Bennett
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