- Years 1930-Present
- Architect (ret), FRAIC, RCA
- WCML Feature Masters of West Coast Modernism – 2017.09.12
Barry Vance Downs graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1954. From there, he apprenticed with the Vancouver firm Thompson Berwick & Pratt Architects (TBP), working as part of the design team for a number of houses as well as landmark projects like Ron Thom’s Massey College and Roy Jessiman’s Frederick Wood Theatre. In 1955, he married Mary Hunter Stewart, who has remained a stalwart support throughout his career and life.
Although a devout modernist, Barry brought a strong appreciation for nature, art and organic form to his work at TBP. His remarkable talent not only in architecture but also in drawing and watercolours quickly became apparent, and in the ensuing years, he honed his reputation from such distinctive houses at the 1957 Phillips Residence in West Vancouver, his own family home in the Dunbar neighbourhood of Vancouver a year later, and the 1960 Chow Residence, with Blair MacDonald, in North Vancouver. He also worked with Fred Hollingsworth on a number of houses.
At various times throughout the 1960s, he lectured with colleagues Arthur Erickson and Bud Wood at the UBC School of Architecture. He formed a practice with Fred Hollingsworth from 1963-1967, and by the end of the decade he had set up his own practice with Richard Archambault. Barry continued his distinctive work with projects like the Oberlander Residence and Pearson College of the Pacific (with Ron Thom and Cornelia Oberlander), the 1974 North Vancouver Civic Centre, the 1979 Downs House II and 1989 Canuck Place. He also has been a key player in important master plans, including the 1989 Concord Pacific master plan and the 1993 Yaletown/Roundhouse plans.
Over the years, Barry has worked tirelessly as an advocate on a number of local groups and committees, including the City of Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee and the West Vancouver Planning Commission. His career and and design ethos was reflected in the 2013 exhibition “Melding Architecture with Landscape: A Collaboration in Design” at the West Vancouver Museum. In 2015, Barry was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
Beatty Mews at the Waterworks, 1997, Vancouver, BC
Bowker Residence, 1965, West Vancouver, BC
Britannia Community Services Centre, Vancouver, BC
Campbell River Museum, Campbell River, BC
Dent Residence, 2008, Saltspring Island, BC
Downs House I, 1958, Vancouver, BC
Downs House II, 1979, West Vancouver, BC
Canuck Place, 1989, Vancouver, BC
Chow Residence, 1960, North Vancouver, BC
Clement Residence, 1969, Richmond, BC
Concord Pacific Master Plan, 1989
Crestmark I and II, 1997, Vancouver, BC
España Water Garden, International Village, 2009, Vancouver, BC
Fawkes Residence, 1965, West Vancouver, BC
Gardner Residence (unbuilt), 1970
Grelish Residence, 1997, Surrey, BC
Kopeke Residence, 1974, West Vancouver, BC
Kwantlen College Langley Campus, 1993, Langley, BC
Max Bell Theatre, Pearson College, 1974-76, Pedder Bay, BC
McGraw Estate Winery, 2008, Naramata, BC
McGraw Residence, 1975, Vancouver, BC
Nachtigal Residence, 1967, Tsawwassen, BC
North Vancouver Civic Centre, 1974, North Vancouver, BC
Oberlander Residence, 1970, Vancouver, BC
Pearson College of the Pacific, 1974-76, Pedder Bay, BC
Phillips Residence, 1957, West Vancouver, BC
Rayer Residence, 1963, West Vancouver, BC
UVic Sedgewick Building, 1969, Victoria, BC
SFU Classroom Block II, 1978, Burnaby, BC
SFU Diamond Alumni Centre, 1981, Burnaby, BC
Spruce Townhouses, 1978, False Creek South, Vancouver, BC
Taluswood, 1995, Whistler, BC
UBC Frederic Wood Theatre, 1961, Vancouver, BC
Yaletown/ Roundhouse Plans, 1993, Vancouver, BC
more to come…
Thompson Berwick & Pratt and Partners, 1954
Hollingsworth and Downs Architects, 1963-67
Barry Downs Architects, 1969
Downs/ Archambault and Partners, 1969
Barry Downs (August 2017). Interview with Adele Weder.
Barry Downs Personal Archives
Downs, B.V. and Darrin Morrison (2013). Barry Downs: Melding Architecture and Landscape. West Vancouver Museum.
MacDonald, Chris and Michael Perlmutter (2016). Downs House II. UBC SALA West Coast Modern House Series. ORO Editions.