'Hideous' house in Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood compared to WW II bunker
Bloggers jeer against 'ugly' box design that architect says challenges 'preconception about what a house is'
A house on Point Grey Road is turning neighbours' heads and raising eyebrows among architects in Vancouver.
The steel-cube home that sits on top of a glass box is still under construction, but is already the talk of the town.
It was even called "Vancouver's Most Hideous Urban Design" on one local blog.
Former city councilor and city planner Gordon Price says it's been a polarizing work of art.
"You love it or you hate it. There's nothing in between," Price said.
"Initially, it has the shock of the new, but when you look at the houses next door, it's a variation on a very simple modernist box idea."
Although the street is lined with character homes, over the years, more modern, boxy structures have sprung up.
But the black steel box house has created more reaction than the others.
On Price's local architecture blog, commentators compare the house to a Second World War bunker and call it "hideous" and "ugly."
Historian Michael Kluckner just calls it simply unneighbourly.
"It turns its back on the street ... it's the ultimate expression of a courtyard culture and the evolution we have gone through over a century from being a front-porch culture," Kluckner said.
An outside-the-box box
But the architect of the "cube," as it's being called, says he was thinking outside the box.
"It's outside the box in terms of people's preconceptions about what a house is," said Tony Robins.
"For me it's a sculptural building. It's part of the world stage of architecture, but the people I am really concerned about are the neighbours, so if they are upset, I am sorry," he said.
Robins says that there will be Japanese maple trees and other shrubbery that will soften the building up.
He estimates the building, which hasn't sold yet, will go for about $8 million or $9 million. It has a glass elevator, a four-car garage, and a fully glassed-in kitchen and living room. It also has a rooftop with a view of the mountains and ocean.
The new house replaced a 1935 character home purchased in the fall of 2014 for $3.5 million.