Bird, Arthur Julius

BIRD, Arthur Julius (1875-1967) of Vancouver, B.C. was among the first designers to introduce the masonry apartment building prototype to residential development on the West Coast. As City Architect and building inspector there he also played an important role in the (then) modern science of town planning and zoning and the contouring of hilly sections of Vancouver to make them suitable for residential streets and neighbourhoods. Born in Bradford, England on 25 July 1875 he attended school in Rochester, Kent and began his architectural apprenticeship with Edward Burgess in London in 1892. In 1896 he became his chief assistant and remained in the office until 1903 when he joined the London office of the talented Edwardian architect and prolific author J. Alfred Gotch. By June 1906 he had moved back to Rochester and became a partner in a new firm called Boucher & Bird. He married Alice E. Wills of Kettering, Northamptonshire in 1906 and in August 1907 decided to emigrate to Canada.

After settling in Vancouver B.C., his knowledge of modern building techniques was quickly put to use in designing some of the earliest multi-storey apartment buildings in Vancouver including Trafalgar Mansions (1910), Blenheim Court (1910) and Washington Court (1911). Bird continued to practice until 1914 when he joined Canadian Forces to serve overseas during WWI. Upon his return in 1919 he obtained the position of City Architect and Building Inspector and can be credited with the design of many civic buildings erected during the period from 1919 until 1933 when the post of City Architect was abolished. At that time he chose to return to England and worked for the London County Council and the War Damage Commission. In 1959, late in his life, he returned to British Columbia and became a resident of Victoria (Vancouver Sun, 4 Jan. 1960, 16, port.). Bird died there on 21 October 1967 (obituary in Vancouver Sun, 23 Oct. 1967, 14; Province [Vancouver], 23 Oct. 1967, 22; biog. and port. in Contract Record & Engineering Review, xlvi, 29 June 1932, 747; biog. in E.O.S. Scholefield, British Columbia From the Earliest Times to the Present, 1914, iv, 365; biog. and port. in Who's Who and Why in Canada, 1913, 61; D. Luxton, Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia, 2003, 346-7, 492)

FIRE HALL NO. 6, Nelson Street at Nicola Street, 1907 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
SEYMOUR APARTMENTS, Seymour Street, 1908 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
HARRIS & GREGG BLOCK, Seymour Street between Helmecken Street and Davie Street, addition of third floor above the existing building, 1908-09 (Vancouver Daily World, 5 Dec. 1908, 15, descrip.)
BELLEVILLE HOUSE, Seventh Avenue West at Bridge Street, an apartment house for W.A. Clark, 1909 (Vancouver Daily World, 30 Jan. 1909, 23, descrip.; C.R., xxiii, 24 Feb. 1909, 21)
CAPITOLA APARTMENTS, Thurlow Street at Eveleigh Street, for Seabold & Roberts, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 25 Aug. 1909, 21)
PENDER STREET WEST, at Abbott Street, theatre for T. Matthews, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 5 Jan. 1910, 22)
UNION BANK, West Cordova Street, 1910 (City of Vancouver building permit, 21 March 1910)
LEE BUILDING, East Broadway, for Herbert O. Lee, 1910 (Province [Vancouver], 30 March 1910, 8)
TRAFALGAR MANSIONS, Nelson Street at Hornby Street, an apartment block for Hose Investment Co., 1910; demol. (Province [Vancouver], 30 April 1910, 13, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxiv, 22 June 1910, 41, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
McCLAY BLOCK, East 7th Avenue at Westminster Street [now Main Street], a 5 storey commercial and residential block for S. McClay, 1910 (Vancouver Daily World, 25 June 1910, Second Section, 12, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxiv, 29 June 1910, 27)
SOUTH VANCOUVER, apartment house for Broadhurst & Whittaker, Angus Road at Mills Street, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 14 Sept. 1910, 26)
BLENHEIM COURT APARTMENTS, Jervis Street at Davie Street, an apartment block for John A. Seabold, 1910 (Province [Vancouver], 30 April 1910, 13, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
WOOLWORTH STORE, Main Street, 1910 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
VENABLES STREET, stores and apartments for an unnamed client, 1911 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
WASHINGTON COURT APARTMENTS, Thurlow Street at Nelson Street, 1911 (Const., vi, March 1913, 38, illus. in advert.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
SALISBURY COURT APARTMENTS, Salisbury Drive at Parker Street, 1911 (Vancouver Daily World, 26 Aug. 1911, Third Section, 9, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
GORDON APARTMENTS, Granville Street near West 14th Avenue, 1911 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
WATER STREET, warehouse for J.M. Harper, 1912 (City of Vancouver building permit, 22 Aug. 1912)
EAST HASTINGS STREET, near Gore Avenue, warehouse, 1912 (Province [Vancouver], 14 Sept. 1912, 30, descrip.)
STAINSBURY AVENUE, at Vaness Street, apartment block J.H. Angleman, in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood, 1912 (Province [Vancouver], 5 Oct. 1912, 31, illus. & descrip.)
BELVEDERE COURT APARTMENTS, Main Street at 10th Avenue, 1912 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
VICTORIA COURT APARTMENTS, Thurlow Street near Haro Street, c. 1912 (Province [Vancouver], 1 March 1913, 10-11, list of works)
ELGIN APARTMENTS, Howe Street near Nelson Street, 1913 (Province [Vancouver], 1 March 1913, 10-11, list of works)
LOTUS HOTEL, Abbott Street at West Pender Street, 1912 (Province [Vancouver], 29 June 1912, 25, illus & descrip.; 1 March 1913, 10-11, illus. & descrip.; Const., vi, March 1913, illus. in advert.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
HOSMER AVENUE, at Matthews Avenue, residence for Dr. A.R. Baker, 1912-13 (Province [Vancouver], 15 March 1913, 24, illus. & descrip.)
EVANS COURT APARTMENTS, Granville Street at West 6th Avenue, 1913 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)

(projects as City Architect of Vancouver)

MONTROSE APARTMENTS, West 12th Avenue at Alder Street, 1923 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
JUVENILE DETENTION HOME, Pine Street near West 10th Avenue, 1924-25 (C.R., xxxviii, 5 Nov. 1924, 52)
VANCOUVER GENERAL HOSPITAL, West 12th Avenue near Laurel Street, Isolation Hospital, 1925; Maternity Ward Block & Private Ward Block, 1927 (C.R., xxxix, 20 May 1925, 50; R.A.I.C. Journal, vi, Feb. 1929, xv, illus. in advert; vii, Oct. 1930, 374; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
FIRE HALL NO. 16, False Creek, at the foot of Drake Street, 1927 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
HASTINGS PARK EXHIBITION GROUNDS, Livestock Pavilion, 1927 (C.R.,, xli, 21 Sept. 1927, 63)
SOUTH VANCOUVER POLICE STATION, Fraser Street, 1929 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
JUVENILE COURT & DETENTION HOME, Yale Street, 1929-30 (C.R., xliii, 12 June 1929, 114; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
VANCOUVER FIRE ALARM HEADQUARTERS, Cambie Street, 1930 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
RICHMOND, B.C., airplane hangars at the Vancouver City Airport, Sea Island, 1930 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
CITY MORGUE & CORONER'S COURT, East Cordova Street near Gore Street, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 3 Feb. 1932, 44)