Mid-Century Modern House Tour

Explore the timeless aesthetic of an influential architectural movement


Saturday, September 26th 2015

Tour 1pm – 5pm, Reception 5pm – 7pm

Bus$110; Self-guided $90 (inc. $50 charitable tax receipt)

*Price does not include GST, which is applied to the non-donation cost only


Thank you to everyone who joined at the 2015 Mid-Century Modern Tour for another successful year! We hope you will join us at our last tour of the year the Laneway House Tour. Check back in early 2016 for the next line-up of tours.

Are you interested in taking a VHF house tour but not sure what to expect? Read our First Timer’s Guide to House Tours here.

Do you or someone you know live in a house that may be a good fit for one of our tours? We are continually searching for great examples of heritage or character, mid-century modern design, sympathetic lane homes behind heritage homes, or renovated Vancouver Specials to open on our tours. If you’d like to know more, or have your home considered for inclusion on a future tour, contact us 604 264 9642 or by email.

The Wong House Update:

_MG_8157 low resOpen on the 2014 tour, the Wong House is a lovely Mid-Century Modern home designed by Henry Lee who worked for Duncan McNab. Built for the parents of known philanthropist and businessman Milton Wong, the home has been passed down through three generations of the Wong Family. The home has heritage value for its association to Milton Wong, as well as its architecture. It also benefits from landscape design by internationally renowned landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who has been responsible for several projects around Vancouver including Robson Square. The Wong House was her second commission in Vancouver and still features all the original design elements. The only change to her original plan is a carp pond that replaced a patch of lawn.

The Wong House was recently purchased from the Wongs by Pennyfarthing Homes who are looking at incorporating the home into a new housing development. The proposed design would designate the home, maintain it as a single-family residence and retain much of the original landscaping. The proposal also includes a 7 storey tower and a laneway home at the rear of the site.

A Community Open House will be held Tuesday October 6th, 5-8pm at Hillcrest Community Centre, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way. The full application to the City of Vancouver is available online here.

In 2015 we visited a number of remarkable buildings, including the renovated B.C. Electric Building, now The Electra. This award-winning showstopper was one of the first Modernist buildings in Vancouver and is recognized across Canada for its innovative design. Originally the head office of B.C. Electric, or B.C. Hydro, the building was converted into condos in the early 1990s. VHF has written about this building and its influential design for Spacing Vancouver. Check out the articles here and here.

We also explored examples of the influential Mid-Century Modernist style such as the remarkable 1962 Danto Residence designed by Arthur Erickson,  enjoyed the rare opportunity to see inside Arthur Erickson's own home and garden and compared the expansive commissioned work indicative of Erickson's famed style with the relatively modest home he designed for himself. We also saw some inventive work that explores the design characteristics that are hallmarks of the movement. We wrapped up the day with a wine and cheese reception at the stunning West Coast Modern home recently used in the Tim Burton feature film "Big Eyes". 

"Less is More", the phrase coined by the German designer Mies van der Rohe, aptly describes the Modern Movement that began in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. Modernist designs were without historical precedent, they used new materials and technologies, and they conformed to a social ideal.

Vancouver developed an adaptation of the modern aesthetic known as West Coast Regional Style. Local designers used post-and-beam construction, stepped flat roofs with clerestory windows and wide expanses of glass that integrated the house with the natural setting.

Professional Development Credits: The Mid-Century Modern Tour qualifies for 3 Non-Core LUs granted by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.

Mid-Century Modern Articles

A Lesson in Zoned Architectural Protection from Ottawa - Globe and Mail

At 93, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is still one of Canada's most beloved landscape architects - Globe and Mail


Check out previous Mid-Century Modern tour brochures here:

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