Barry Vance Downs

Barry Vance Downs, architect (b at Vancouver 19 June 1930). After graduating in architecture from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1954, Downs worked for THOMPSON, BERWICK, PRATT AND PARTNERS in Vancouver before joining Fred Thornton HOLLINGSWORTH in partnership from 1963 to 1967. After 2 years of independent practice, he formed Downs/Archambault Architects with Richard B. Archambault in 1969.

The firm's work includes the North Vancouver Civic Centre and Britannia Community Services Centre, Vancouver; Lester Pearson College of the Pacific, Pedder Bay, Vancouver Island (in collaboration with Ron THOM, 1977); high-density neighbourhoods on or adjacent to the Expo lands, Vancouver; the Langley campus of Kwantlen College, Langley, BC; and the Campbell River Museum, Campbell River, BC. Downs/Archambault were associated with Moshe SAFDIE in carrying out Vancouver's Library Square (1995). One continuing concern has been the creation of richness of place in small scale neighbourhoods, gardens and parks.

Downs has been a leading exponent of the low-key, mostly undecorated but carefully detailed work, highly sensitive to site and context, that has been characteristic of the Pacific Northwest. The materials and colours are simple and unadorned, and the buildings informally organized with an easy and natural flow of space. After a passing flirtation with post-modern historicism, the firm's institutional work revisits these principles, continuing and building on a strong regional tradition.