While new architecture is as important as old, new, especially chain store architecture, is the same. A visual repetition that repeats across a province, a country and even the world, that makes everything appear to be the same, that in the interest of convenience takes away our regional uniqueness. The Arbutus Cafe in Duncan (above) is a one of a kind local establishment. It has a unique shape with it’s rounded roof that makes it stand out from other shops on the street. The name Arbutus, itself, is local, a tree that sports a peeling red bark and grows only in the Cascadia region (although it is known as a Madrona in the United States). The photo below, also taken in Duncan, shows a scene that could be anywhere, the photo at the top could only be at the corner of Kenneth Street and Jubilee Street.
The chain store architecture will, of course, date quickly and be replaced with a new look or colour or logo. The old colours, look and logos will then be part of our visual history as well.