British Columbia·Photos

Rare homes designed by famous Vancouver architects listed for more than $5M

The future is in limbo for two rare homes designed by Ron Thom and Arthur Erickson, after both were recently listed for sale.

Heritage advocates fear for future of what are considered landmark designs by Ron Thom and Arthur Erickson

The Ron Thom-designed house is known as the 'Ames House,' after the family for whom it was built. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

A pair of rare homes from two of Vancouver's most renowned architects are up for sale, and it has heritage advocates concerned for their future.

The houses, built by architects Ron Thom and Arthur Erickson, have recently been listed for well over $5 million.

The Erickson-designed 'Hwang House' was built in 1980 and takes inspiration from northern Chinese architecture. (

Due to the old age and design of the homes, some heritage advocates are concerned the buildings may not live long after they sell.

"It would be a loss in terms of our cultural and architectural history if these things were lost," said Donald Luxton, an expert on Vancouver heritage.

"Hopefully, there would be ways found to ... not see them lost."

The age and design of the homes have heritage experts worried for their future. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The two large houses sit just blocks away from each other in a quiet neighbourhood in South Vancouver.

They are rare residential creations from Thom and Erickson, who are more famous for their public buildings such as Massey College in Toronto and the Law Courts near Robson Square in Vancouver.

"It's very interesting to see, 'cause it's almost like a time warp," said Chris Frederickson, the Realtor for the Thom-designed home at West 54th Avenue and Hudson Street.

"They've kept it in fantastic shape."

The owners of the Ames House kept most of the home in its original condition, including the appliances. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Neither of the homes are listed on the City of Vancouver's heritage registry.

The registry requires a home to have 'architectural or historical significance,' and have limited changes to the exterior.

A Realtor shows a photo of the Ames house in a Ron Thom architecture book. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Now that they're on the market, Luxton hopes the future owners of the houses seek a heritage designation.

"Part of the problem is identification," he said.

"If we don't know the building is there and the owner buys it and has no idea of the history, then that can be a concern 'cause it can lead to conflict if they have a desire to take down the building, and yet people feel its very valuable."


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