Designs of Olympic proportions

As we Vancouverites head into the Olympics next week, some of you are really getting into the spirit inside and outside your homes and workplaces. The city is being visually slaughtered by Olympic advertising, temporary venues, mascots, country flags, and each of us react in our own way. Some of us embrace it, some of us are miffed by the expence while the cities real problems remain, some of us are happy to see some design focused ideas come to reality. The 2010 Olympics have brought forth a huge influx in construction, so much so that the activity housing slump and poor economy was outside the protection of the Olympic bubble. One such fantastic venue is the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

Lobby, pre-opening, Farmont Pacific Rim

The cool part of the building is that a poem by Liam Gillick wraps the building: "lying on top of a building ... the clouds looked no nearer."

Fairmont Pacific Rim

With marble from Italy that is cut in China, it's to bad it's not LEED certified.

It's not all peaches and roses, take the Canada Pavilion at Georgia and Beatty Streets for example. It's an ugly white tent. It's ugly, opening late, and apparently "looks great", so says Heritage Minister James Moore [Globe & Mail]. Oh, by the way, did I mention it cost $10M of taxpayer money, build by non-Canadian Chicago-based company, and it's ugly? I wonder if Mayor Greggor will keep it open as a temporary shelter...

Canada Pavilion

Image credit: Ric Ernst PNG for Global BC

"Something happened. It's embarrassing," says Bing Thom, "This is a world event. As Canadians, we all want to put on a good show, and architecture can help. But from the outside, this pavilion is completely uninspiring." [Globe & Mail]

"This is a missed opportunity for Canada to demonstrate to the world what the country represents," says Vancouver architect Wayne De Angelis, Regional director of Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. "If we are going to be represented by just a white box that looks like something you can buy online, that's fine, but other pavilions are doing much more than that. It's sad." [Globe & Mail]

 How did this happen? How did such an ugly thing and a beautiful thing get built?