Forrest-Baker House: Statement on Impending Demolition
The West Coast Modern League is deeply concerned about the imminent loss of the 1962 Forrest–Baker House, designed by architects Ron Thom and Dick Mann while at Thompson, Berwick, Pratt and Partners. Its presence and architectural legacy is of great importance to West Vancouver’s current character, and testifies to the District’s historic role as the heart of this region’s mid-century modern architecture and design.
While the residence has changed hands numerous times and undergone updates, great care has been taken to retain its unique architectural character. It exemplifies the geometric and spatial ingenuity of its architect Ron Thom, one of Canada’s most influential architects of the 20th century, and his work to define a symbiotic bond with the surrounding landscape. Among its distinguishing features are its hovering, rhythmically pitched roofline that traces the slope of the land; dramatically sweeping overhangs; and magnificent floor-to-ceiling window walls that capture the drama of the surrounding forested environment. The Forrest–Baker House is an icon of west coast design excellence. In 1964, the house was awarded a Massey Medal for Architecture, the most prestigious architectural accolade in Canada of its time. Since then, the house has highlighted a national travelling exhibition on the storied architect, and has been featured in numerous other exhibitions and publications. The house is a reflection of Canada’s mid-century, west coast cultural life, and of design principles that have permeated city-building efforts across the region ever since.
We appreciate West Vancouver Staff and Council’s employment of a Temporary Protection Order and ongoing efforts to engage with the current owner to retain this architecturally significant house. While the League is not in support of expropriation, we urge the District to continue with all reasonable steps to protect this and other masterworks of West Coast Modernism.