1930 – Marine Building, Vancouver, British Columbia

Architect: McCarter & Nairn

Photograph Courtesy and Copyright of Derek Lepper - dereklepper.com



Inspired by New York’s Chrysler Building, and one of the most prominent legacies of Vancouver’s growing prosperity. During the 1930’s it was the first “modern” skyscraper in the city and tallest until 1939. Cost overuns made a $1.25 million project into $2.35 million but was sold to the Guinness family for only $900,000 once the Great Depression set in.

Typical of the Art Deco period, the building is decorated with many materials and designs. The walls and polished brass doors are decorated with depictions of sea snails, skate, crabs, turtles, carp, scallops, seaweed and sea horses. The exterior is studded with flora and fauna, tinted in sea-green and touched with gold. The Marine Building was the first skyscraper for McCarter who was the engineer and Nairne who was the architect.

It was restored in the 1980s. Its terra-cotta tiled art deco entrance, ornate revolving door and etched brass elevators doors form one of the busiest filming locations in the city.