Ode To Joy (Conceptual Sketch), Conté crayon, coloured pencil, and ink on paper, c. 1965 | Private Collection (left); and An Abstraction, Conté crayon on paper board, 1951 | 46 cm x 30.5 cm, West Vancouver Museum Collection




Back in the day, classy developers (always a minority) knew that adding a piece or two of public art to their projects would make them prestigious.

Black Bros. Realty was one such developer. When they constructed Beach Towers on an extremely prominent piece of West End real estate in the mid-60s, they commissioned Lionel Thomas to adorn their towers.

The result is one of the most pleasant pieces of sculpture from the mid-century extant in Vancouver. It’s a hidden gem — check out Wikimapia (below) to discover it for yourself.

Beach Towers in Rhodri Wiscombe-Windsor’s seminal The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1936-1963

Lionel Thomas was born in Toronto in 1915 and studied at a number of schools including Ontario College of Art, Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, Provincetown, MA; California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco.

He was an instructor at the School of Architecture, UBC, from 1950-59, and Associate Professor in Fine Arts until 1981. He exhibited extensively in Canada and internationally during the 1950s-70s including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Hart House, Toronto, Grand Central Galleries, NY, the National Gallery of Canada, the São Paulo Biennial (1954), Seoul, Korea, and many more.

In later life he explored a fervent interest in astronomy and outer space.

– City of Vancouver | Cultural Services :: Public Art Registry

WIKIMAPIA > Click the screenshot below to explore Beach Towers and the West End

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