Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trevor Boddy — An Appreciation of
Bing Thom in Canadian Architect

A look at Bing Thom's career presents an argument for an oft-overlooked and misunderstood West Coast architect.

"… one of the most underpublished key Canadian buildings of the past few years (is) Bing Thom Architects’ (BTA) Sunset Community Centre for a park on Vancouver’s south Main Street, near the Punjabi Market.

Weddings in the Punjab crucially include a parade of bride and groom around the village or neighbourhood, and local families were forced to book wedding halls in Surrey, 25 kilometres away,because there was no adequate facility nearby. A large room on Main Street was Thom’s key addition to the standard Vancouver community centre recreation-related program (the half-century string of these buildings are one of Vancouver’s undersung marvels of social integration and healthy living).

Diagonal pedestrian desire paths across the park site informed Sunset’s crossed pair of internal streets, which double as avenues for wedding processions on even the rainiest of days. Thom’s favoured organic forms are evident here and are rationalized by him as being inspired by the flowing forms of silk saris, drifting above the park’s greensward of a summer’s evening."

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