Western Living Magazine
We Love This Natural, Nordic-Inspired Look for the Holidays
These Are Your Top 5 Finalists for the 2022 WL Home of the Year!
The Home Tour: Black, White and Textured All Over in Vancouver
Is Julie Van Rosendaal’s Nanaimo Bar Cake the Greatest (Cake) of All Time?
Wine of the Week: Start Drinking Beaujolais or Christmas Is Cancelled
Recipe: Coconut Lemon Amaretti
Discover the Perfect Winter Getaway in Penticton
The Ultimate Winter Staycation Guide 2023: 6 Great Places to Explore in B.C.
B.C. Winter Staycation Guide 2023: 48 Hours in Tofino
A Gift Guide for the Yellowstone Fan in Your Family
Western Living’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide
2022 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Kitchen Aficionado
Introducing Western Living’s 2022 Designers of the Year Award Winners
WL Architects of the Year 2022: Measured Architecture
WL Robert Ledingham Memorial Award for an Emerging Interior Designer 2022: Studio Roslyn
A celebration of understated genius.
Looking through five decades of archives, It's astounding to see how often a celebrated place seems to embody the famed architect who created it. Bold and unconventional personalities tend to make bold and unconventional buildings.
The late architect Joe Wai, at the Chinese Benevolent Society in Chinatown in 2006. Wai was a tireless booster of the neighbourhood in the face of repeated calls for redevelopment.
So when one looks at the understated facade of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, is it really hard to appreciate how the creation of this first formal Chinese garden outside of Mainland China sprung from the imagination of the low-key Joe Wai? Or that the wonder that awaits past the demure entrance mirrors Wai's own quiet brilliance?
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is one of the most important expressionsof this historical form anywhere in the world.
Wai graduated from UBC in 1965 and, after apprenticing at several bold-name firms and doing a stint in London, he returned to Vancouver and opened his own spot in Chinatown, a neighbourhood that he painstakingly shepherded over the next four decades.
In our September 1981 issue, we ran plans for the not-yet-built garden in conjuction with along feature on Wai's dogged determination to get the project built.
Wai helped stop the proposed freeway from decimating the neighbourhood and created affordable infill housing for the area, now colloquially know as Joe Wai Specials. But his crowning achievement came with the creation of those gardens, which Carolann Rule documented for us in an essay in September 1981, a testament to the enduring legacy of understated genius.
Another shot of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.