Vancouver In Microscale – Sun Tower

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By Zhatt – Own work, Public Domain,

As part of our Microscale coverage, we’re focusing on our homebase of Vancouver, BC. We discovered Flickr user Thad Jantzi who created a series of Vancouver landmarks in amazing detail.

In this post, I’ll have a look at his work on the historical Sun Tower on Pender Street.

From Wikipedia: The Sun Tower is a 17 storey 82 m (269 ft) Beaux-Arts building at 128 West Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is known for its faux-patina steel dome painted to imitate copper cladding. Nine nude muses, the “nine maidens” supporting the cornice line can be seen. The terracotta for this building, including the ladies, was made in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England by Gibbs and Canning Limited.

The exterior of the Sun Tower is used in The CW’s superhero television series Smallville to depict the Watchtower, the operational headquarter of DC Comics’ Justice League. In the show the tower is digitally modified to be a clock tower with six turret clocks on its dome, and is enhanced to look taller, being the highest building in Metropolis in certain shots.

The Sun Tower’s most notable feature is that brilliant green dome and cupola. It stands out on Vancouver’s downtown eastside and can be seen from a good distance in most directions. Modern development is encroaching on it, of course. In the photo above you can see the International Village mall with a Cineplex movie theatre.

When it was first built, and for many years afterward, was home to newspapers including The Vancouver Sun where it’s popular name comes from.

Today, the Sun Tower is populated with a variety of offices for businesses of all types. Last time I was past a large personal training company occupied the ground floor and for a while it was the home of many of the city’s film production relatated companys ranging from talent agents to animation facilities.

Ok, nice history lesson, but what about the LEGO?

Certainly the introduction and eventual abundance of Sand Green made this build possible. The Sand Green curves that are used to make up the dome are critical to the look of the building with “telescopes” and “dishes” used to form the iconic cupola.

The look of the building’s main business floors and tower is created using a unique “back out” style often seen in microscale buildings. He seems to use part 4070 – Angular Brick (according to LEGO) which is commonly called a headlight brick, primarily in Brick Yellow (tan), dark gray and light gray. He mixes in some Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Tooth Horizontal at certain points for contrast and detail.

On one “end” of the building, where it abuts the next building on Beatty Street, the building is capped off with a nice brick pattern made of dark blue grey tiles. The awkward transition in one corner is smoothed by using small “cheese slopes” to flatten the corner and give a nice finished appearance.

Unfortunately Thad hasn’t been active on social media in quite a while. His Flickr account has no uploads since 2016, which is shortly before his Facebook account stopped getting updates.

Thad’s Flickr account received a couple of updates in November of 2021 and has since gone silent again. Hopefully he’s building!

Keep an eye out for articles about more of his work, coming soon.

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