House Styles of Vancouver Part 1

Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

Walking around Vancouver's residential detached neighbourhoods, one will notice the differences, and similarities, between house styles. Certain neighbourhoods will have distinct looks and others will change dramatically from house to house. There are just a few common types of house style that will be noted in this segment. There are too many to write about at once so I will break this up into multiple sections. 

The first type of structure is the The Classic Box, or the BC Box, as it has become to be known. This is a house style that has been developed since the 1890's. Not so commonly built anymore. They are 2-storey houses with a rectangular footprint. They have a hip roof and a front veranda. Usually there are pilaster columns, but due neglect, some of these have since had to be replaced by boxier varieties. The envelope was originally clapboard cedar. The front door is to one side of the house. This enables the porch to be enclosed on the other side. Many of these types of houses still standing in Vancouver now are around 100 years old and they are usually found in the West Side neighbourhood of Kitsilano.

The next house style that is on the list is the Cape Cod.  This type of house comes in three forms; the half, three-quarter and full. This obviously represents the size, but it also represents if there are two windows to one side of the door(half), or two windows to one side and one on the other side of the front door(three-quarter), or two windows on each side(full). The house one and a half storeys and has clapboard or shingle cedar siding. The original designs never had dormer, but now is a standard as builders try to maximize living space. The roof is gabled. The windows commonly have shutters which are mostly for aesthetics. Very common design found in the detached communities from the West Side to East Van to the Fraser Valley.

The last type of house in this segment is the Bungalow. Sometimes named the 50's Bungalow or World War II Bungalow. This is a cute little design. Usually just 5 rooms in total(excluding the basement). Two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, and a living room. They have been modified over the years to be sure as living space becomes more and more sought after. Footprints may have been expanded, or even another level stacked on top. This, of course, changing the type of house that is was originally built as. These one-storey buildings were built on a concrete perimeter and have a basement. They have either stucco(smooth or broken glass) or cedar clapboard siding. They are generally found in East Vancouver but are becoming more and more rare as they are being torn down to make way for bigger and taller houses.


Blog Archives