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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Douglas Coupland’s mural at English Bay now complete

Just in time for summer, a massive mural by Douglas Coupland on the side of an apartment tower at English Bay is now complete.

The large-scale mural is Coupland’s first to cover an entire building and is titled ‘Sunset Beach Love Letter.’ It was commissioned by local developer Reliance Properties and is part of their renovation of the 62-year-old apartment tower, previously known as Berkeley Tower and now known as Muro.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Reliance bought the apartment tower in 2016 for $43 million. In order to complete the major renovations to the building which included seismic, plumbing and electrical upgrades, Reliance evicted the existing tenants. They were compensated in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on length of tenure.

The murals highlight Coupland’s signature sense of colour and geometry, and are intended to have a modern, yet old world charm.

Douglas Coupland with his Vancouver mural
Douglas Coupland with his Vancouver mural. Credit: Supplied

“It’s the first time I’ve used a building as a canvas, and its location is key,” says Douglas Coupland. “For many out-of-towners, that corner is where people exhale and say to themselves, ‘Wow, I’m really in Vancouver.’ I want to amplify that sensation.”

Muro, meaning ‘wall’ in Spanish, is Canada’s first high-rise to be painted on all four sides as public art, including the rooftop.

“This apartment building has been known as a visual icon in the West End, so it was only fitting that we consider a stunning artistic contribution that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike,” says Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties. “The mural is our voluntary contribution to the neighbourhood and city.”

Reliance hired Create Vancouver Society, a non-profit arts organization, to paint Coupland’s mural on the building. The project took three months to complete.

The Berkeley pre-renovation
Condition of Berkeley Tower pre-renovation. Credit: Reliance Properties/CMYK
The Berkeley Douglas Coupland mural
The rooftop of the tower was also painted in a checkered pattern as seen in this rendering before the project was completed. Credit: CMYK

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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