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Brutalist landmark in Vancouver set to be demolished for luxury apartment towers

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The 1970s Empire Landmark Hotel is the latest casualty of the city’s hot real estate market

Empire Landmark Hotel in Vancouver, Canada. Empire Landmark Hotel

Vancouver, Canada, is in the midst of a building boom, with commercial real estate prices rising by 47 percent in 2016 and continuing to climb. This surge of money has changed the financial calculus of preservation versus demolition—leaving the city’s 1970s towers vulnerable to redevelopment.

The Empire Landmark Hotel, a 42-story Brutalist tower known for extraordinary city, mountain, and ocean views, is a surprising casualty of Vancouver’s hot real estate market. Built in 1973, the 380-room hotel will close on September 30 and then await demolition to make room for a larger two-tower luxury apartment complex.

“Suddenly, tearing down a 42-story high rise is economically viable?” said heritage expert Donald Luxton in an interview with The Guardian. “Even with the [real estate] market the way it is, no one saw that coming.”

Many of Vancouver’s 1970s structures—though often considered iconic—fail to conjure the kind of aesthetic appreciation that inspires a preservation battle. On the whole, Brutalism’s heavy-handed style is one that many people love to hate. But by the time Vancouver’s 1970s structures become fashionably retro, will it be too late?

“It takes time to appreciate and understand different building typologies,” explained Vancouver heritage planner Marco D’Agostini. “It was only in the 1990s that we started to value the midcentury stuff everyone loves now. With the 1970s, we’re just getting to that stage, realizing there’s value there.”

Via: The Guardian