The Taylor 310 Water Street, Vancouver V6B 1B6
The Taylor Building is a five storey plus lower level Edwardian era brick and stone-clad commercial building located on the south side of Water Street in the historic district of Gastown, now adapted for use as residential units on the upper floors and retail space on the main floor and lower level. The northern slope of the site towards the original waterfront allows a partial exposure of the lower level.
Gastown is the historic core of Vancouver, and is the city's earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings and warehouses. The Taylor Building is representative of the importance of Gastown as the trans-shipment point between the terminus of the railway and Pacific shipping routes, and the consequent expansion of Vancouver into western Canada's predominant commercial centre in the early twentieth century. The massive cubic form, high density, large clear-span floor-plate and notable height of this structure are a clear indication of the extent and prosperity of wholesale trade during this period.
The Taylor Building is an excellent example of a prestigious Edwardian era building erected in Gastown on a speculative basis for general commercial purposes. It was commissioned by Walter Taylor and Edward Clarence Taylor. Walter Taylor was the founder and managing director of the Empress Manufacturing Co., Ltd., which dealt in imported coffees and local jams and jellies and one of the earliest and most successful of the local food supply companies.
This building is valued as a representation of the classically-influenced Edwardian era commercial style that was prevalent in Gastown during the early twentieth century. The elements that make up the Taylor Building are indicative of the ideal of Vancouver as a modern city in the early twentieth century. The strong facade design reflects the skill of its architects, Grant and Henderson, the partnership of G.W. Grant (1852-1925) and A.E. Henderson (1872-1927). They were a significant firm, responsible for designing a substantial number of commercial, institutional and industrial buildings in the Greater Vancouver area. The contractor, J.J. Dissette, was a prominent local builder.
As the warehousing and light industry functions in Gastown became obsolete, a number of these large warehouse structures have been adapted to other uses; this structure has now been converted for residential use and contributes to the ambiance of the Gastown historic district. Its adaptive reuse within the context of the redevelopment of Gastown as a heritage district represents the changing nature of the local context and economy from warehousing and manufacturing to commercial, retail and residential uses.
Source: City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files
The character-defining elements of the Taylor Building include:
- location, in close proximity to the waterfront of Burrard Inlet and the Canadian Pacific Railway yard
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- spatial relationship to other late Victorian and Edwardian era commercial buildings
- form, scale and massing, as expressed in its five-storey plus lower level height, flat roof and rectangular plan
- classically-influenced Edwardian era design elements, including the symmetrical massing of the front facade, regular fenestration pattern and projecting cornice
- masonry construction, such as the tan brick front facade cladding and the common red brick side walls and rear facade (now parged)
- fenestration: double-assembly double-hung 2-over-2 wood-sash windows on the upper floors of the front facade; double-hung 2-over-2 wood-sash windows on the rear facade; rectangular windows to the lower level; and tall rectangular wood-sash storefront windows with transoms
- two central prefabricated cast iron columns
- divided entry with partial exposure of the basement level to allow natural light
- heavy timber frame internal structure
- surviving original interior features such as wood floors