The Marine Building | Hastings West Historic Walk – Part 2

The Marine Building was completed in 1930 and is still one of the most iconic buildings in the City of Vancouver.  It’s an Art Deco gem that few Vancouverites actually ever experience.  This Vancouver Heritage Foundation Historic Walking Tour of Hastings was actually my first time stepping into the Marine Building.  It makes me wonder why I never did it earlier.

355 burrard street

First, at the entrance to the building, our group stopped to examine the intricate details.  Everything ranging from art deco ships, marine life, Canada Geese, and even a condor.  The details are actually quite amazing.  A couple of photos don’t do justice to this entrance.  You really have to stand there and take it all in.

art deco canada geese

We proceeded to enter the lobby.  The lobby encompasses the ground and mezzanine levels giving a vaulted feeling.  The floor is marble and has the twelves signs of the zodiac right in the middle.  The elevators are out of a 1930’s era-movie.  There’s a light board above each elevator door marking exactly which floor the elevator car is.  As you turn back to look at the entrance, the sun beams through the stained glass above a clock.  The clock continues the zodiac theme by using a sign of the zodiac in each hour position.  On this bright autumn day, the sun shone warmly into the lobby.

stained glass in Marine Building lobby

We then piled into a few elevators and made our way up to the mezzanine.  From the mezzanine, we got the grand view of the lobby.  The zodiac emblem in the middle of the lobby truly stands out from this vantage point.

view of Marine Building lobby from mezzanine

According to Maurice, the detailed work on the ceiling here is Mayan Art Deco.  When I look closely at this ceiling, I can’t help but think of Blade Runner.  The main character, Decker, lives in an apartment building with a similar block-by-block design.  I guess that’s the Mayan Art Deco style being used in the movie.

art deco details are teeming with marine life

Just above the prow-shaped lamps in the lobby are the intricate details of marine life etched into stone.  There are fish, sand dollars, sea horses, lobsters, and seaweed.  I didn’t get a chance to see if each section was different or whether they were the same.  That will require a return trip to the Marine Building on my own.

sea horse deco on railing

Further Reading:

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