Noppe, William Karel

NOPPE, William Karel (1900-1983), active in Vancouver, B.C. from 1936 onward. Born in Courtrai, Belgium in 1900, he was educated and trained in that country and emigrated to Canada in 1924 and settled in Montreal. From 1925 to 1928 he was living in the Detroit-Windsor area where his name appears as “artist” or as “artist-painter”, commuting daily to a job in Detroit from his residence in Riverside, Windsor, Ont. By 1936 he had moved to the Canadian west coast. Shortly after his arrival in Vancouver his name appears in local directories from 1937 to 1940 as an “architectural & industrial designer” (Vancouver City Directory, 1937, 967). Noppe joined the Architectural Inst. of British Columbia in 1940.

In 1941 he was employed as a draftsman for Charles B.K. Norman (Vancouver City Directory, 1941, 916). The following year, in 1942, he was working as a draftsman for an engineering company called Industrial Designing Services, and in 1943 he was listed as a draftsman for the B.C. Electric Railway Co. He commenced practise under his own name in 1944, assisted by his son Karel G. Noppe, and continued to work as an architect in Vancouver until 1974. His best-known work is the striking modernist design of The Beach Town House Apartments, a seven storey block overlooking English Bay in Vancouver (1949).

In the later period after 1950, his largest projects include the Livestock Building at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver (1963), and The Agrodome at the P.N.E. in 1965 (H. Kalman, Exploring Vancouver, 1993, 214, illus.)., and the Enarson Gymnasium Building on the campus of Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. (1969). Noppe died at Saanichton on Vancouver Island on 8 October 1983 (biog. R. Liscombe, The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver 1938-1963, 1997, 204; inf. Architectural Inst. of British Columbia). The Vancouver City Archives holds a small collection of drawing by Noppe dating from 1937 to 1974.

(works in Vancouver)

CROATIAN ASSEMBLY HALL, Campbell Street at Keefer Street, 1937 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
DUMONT AUTO MOTEL, Kingsway at Taunton Street, 1946 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
HOPE’S FURNITURE STORE, Granville Street near Helmcken Street, 1947 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
FOUNDATION BUILDING & LECTURE HALL, West Broadway, 1948 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
WEST VANCOUVER, residence for Arthur J. Rowse, Marine Drive near 30th Street, 1948 (C.H.G., xxvi, Feb. 1949, 28, illus.)
SUNSET MEMORIAL CENTRE, East 51st Avenue at Prince Edward Street, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Jan. 1949, 192; dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
THE BEACH TOWN HOUSE APARTMENT BLOCK, Beach Avenue near Chilco Street, 1949 (C.R., lxii, May 1949, 174; Rhodri Liscombe, The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver 1938-1963, 148-49, illus. & descrip.)
MacLEAN MOTORS LTD., Kingsway at East Broadway, 1949 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
JOURNAL OF COMMERCE LTD., West Broadway at Fir Street, newspaper printing plant, 1950 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
ST. JAMES UNITED CHURCH, West 10th Avenue at Trutch Street, major addition and alterations, 1954; opened February 1955 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
EDITH CAVELL PRIVATE HOSPITAL, Sophia Street at East 12th Avenue, 1955 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)
CFUN RADIO STATION, West 4th Street, 1958 (dwgs. Vancouver City Archives)

(works elsewhere)

BELLA COOLA VALLEY, B.C., public school for District No. 49, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Jan. 1949, 184, t.c.)
OCEAN FALLS, B.C., Federal Public Building, with Post Office and Customs Office, 1949 (C.R., lxii, March 1949, 138)
SUMMERLAND, B.C., Junior-Senior High School, 1949-50 (C.R., lxii, Nov. 1949, 123)
CHILLIWACK, B.C., large addition to the Empress Hotel for a banquet hall and ball room, 1950; extensive alterations, 1959-60 (Chilliwack Progress, 18 Jan. 1950, 1; 12 July 1950, 4, illus. & descrip.; 29 Jan. 1960, 2-3, illus. & descrip.)
PRINCE RUPERT, B.C., Sir Charles M. Hays Hotel, 1950 (Canadian Hotel Review, xxviii, 15 March 1950, 58; C.R., lxiii, March 1950, 140)
KELOWNA, B.C., Aquatic Centre, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, March 1950, 138, t.c.)
OCEAN FALLS, B.C., apartment block for Pacific Mills Ltd., 1950 (C.R., lxiii, July 1950, 130)