The Randall Building and Mural in Downtown Vancouver

The Randall Building and its mural from my photo collection

Vancouver’s Randall Building is hard to miss when its mural is visible. The building was constructed in 1929, but the mural was created in 1993. The picture depicts medieval goldsmiths at work and is a copy of a copper engraving by Christoph Weigel (1654-1725). As can be seen in my photos, the mural completely covers one side of the building. It’s located on West Georgia Street near the intersection with Richards Street in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. I always pause to look at the mural when I’m in the area. It’s an impressive sight.

In 1929, the S.W. Randall Company was a brokerage firm in Vancouver. The building bearing the firm’s name was constructed for the company and was designed by Richard T. Perry. It originally had seven floors. It’s shown in the City of Vancouver archives photo below.

In 1991, a local jeweler named Toni Cavelti (born 1931) purchased the building and upgraded it. The designer of the upgrade was Blewitt Dodd Ching Lee. He also designed the penthouse at the top of the building. The penthouse is set back from the front of the building so that it isn’t isn’t visible from that position. The mural was created while Toni Cavelti owned the building. Today the building is owned by other people and is used by businesses and as residences. Its official address is 555 West Georgia.

Another view of the mural from my collection

I’m impressed by the way in which the exterior of the renovated building matches the original 1929 version and by the fact that the added penthouse doesn’t destroy the style of the rest of the building. The building is made of concrete. The front is covered by a brick clading on the upper section and terra cotta paneling on the lower section, as a plaque attached to the building describes.

The front of the new Randall Building as it existed in 1929 (City of Vancouver archives, public domain license)

I think the mural is a lovely addition to the building. It was created by the combined efforts of three people: Stephen Hinton, Nicola Kozakiewicz, and Kitty Mykka. Stephen Hinton was a project architect for the building’s renovation. The two women were the actual creators of the mural. Nicola seems to have been the chief artist. Kitty helped her with the painting.

I don’t know for certain why the goldsmith theme was chosen for the mural, but it matches the fact that the building was owned by a jeweler at the time. I admire the hard work that must have been involved in creating an enlarged and accurate duplicate of the original engraving.

Christoph Weigel (Picture created by Bernhard Vogel, 1683-1737, public domain license)

Christoph Weigel the elder was a German goldsmith, copper engraver, and cartographer. He was also a prolific book publisher. He seems to have been a versatile and successful person in the art world. Multiple sources say that he was popular in his day, but little information is available about him online. Confusingly, he had a younger brother and a son with similar names to his own. His full name was Johann Christoph Weigel.

Weigel’s goldsmith engraving was reportedly created in 1698. It shows an instructor guiding students in the art of making items from gold. I’ve seen the original engraving on a particular website, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the site and haven’t found the picture again. I remember that the mural appears to be an accurate representation of the original work, though. It’s a skillful and interesting addition to the Randall Building. The building is within walking distance of the downtown core. I think it’s worth seeing.

References

  • The plaque attached to the Randall Building
  • Miss 604’s information about the mural artists
  • Christoph Weigel facts from Gotzfried Antique Maps