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[James Bay] Municipal House | Built - completed in 2009


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#1 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:39 AM

Municipal House @ 525 Government Street

New offices for the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM)



#2 Holden West

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:52 AM

^I was unaware of this.

Here's the minutes from the JBNEA meeting on it:

"5. Rezoning 525 Government - Municipal House
Tim V. reported from the preliminary review meeting.
The existing use is a parking lot. Current zone is R2. Surrounding use - Abbeyfield housing to south, dentist/apartments to north, Queens Printer across street. Proposal is for a 5,000 sq ft office bldg, 25' high, 16 offices & meeting rooms, FSR 1:1. Contemporary design, LEEDS silver, 20 ft front setback, 5 ft side setbacks. Parking - 6 stalls, on one site, 5 off site. Bike storage on site, green roof with native planting.
Architect Tony James reported - this site is owned by the province. Office building will be for the Union of BC Municipalities. They currently have offices in an inadequate heritage bldg on Superior St. It will be used by municipal councilors and staff when they come to Victoria to meet with Prov. government. After this meeting he will meet with immediate neighbours. He was mandated to showcase BC materials - wood exterior, native plant landscaping, possibility of public art in front of the bldg. As suggested at the preliminary review meeting shadow studies are underway. Until the green wall is mature, roof plantings may trail down the sides, will consider including a low wall that people can sit on. The bldg will incorporate heritage elements in a contemporary way.
Comments?
o Context - in the JB Plan this lot was intended as a location for a heritage bldg to be moved from the legislative precinct. Currently this block has a lot of nicely restored heritage homes. There are few sites for moving heritage houses to. The proposal is attractive, but in the wrong place. Response - the current Municipal House at 545 Superior is not movable - it is not structurally sound. Because this block is notable, they are trying to build something that will add to the ambience.
o Pleased that it will be LEEDS silver. You might want to consider adding mature trees. JB has a great colour palette - you may want to consider using it.
o Will it be site specific zoning? Yes. Member is against spot zoning.
o Isn't there enough existing office space in the city? A - they want to be close to the Parl. Bldgs.
o Member has a problem with the whole thing. There is avail office space all over the city. Where is the off site parking? A - the off site parking will be registered to the property, but don't know yet where it will be. Users will be notified where the parking is.
o Current bldgs on the block all blend in to each other. Can't you design something that blends in? A - We didn't want to do "fake heritage". It includes elements like 2 storey bay window, and front porch, reflecting aspects of houses across the street."
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#3 gumgum

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:14 PM

[url=http://imageshack.us:8034b][/url:8034b]

#4 gumgum

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:08 AM

Elevation sketches here.
http://www.jbnea.org/A-7.pdf

#5 G-Man

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:14 AM

I loved this line:

o Current bldgs on the block all blend in to each other. Can't you design something that blends in? A - We didn't want to do "fake heritage". It includes elements like 2 storey bay window, and front porch, reflecting aspects of houses across the street

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#6 aastra

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:48 AM

So now we want buildings to blend into each other? No distinction whatsoever?

#7 G-Man

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 03:37 PM

^ What other choice is there? If buildings start to look different than our tourism business is done for.

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#8 Holden West

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:12 PM

^I demand homogeneity in my touristic destinations. I flew to Vienna and saw one building that wasn't designed in the Baroque style and I turned around and came right back I was so disgusted.
:|
Seriously, that building's overall scale and character will fit perfectly into James Bay's eclectic architectural milieu.

After all, think of the architecture of the Legislative precinct-- there's Neo-Gothic, Neo-Colonial, High Victorian, Second Empire, Free Classical, Classical Revival, Arts and Crafts, Edwardian, Italianate, Art Deco, Brutalist, WW II quonset huts and barracks, Modernist, Post-Modern, Neo-Classical Modernist, West Coast Modernist...oh, did I miss a few or a dozen?
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#9 G-Man

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:18 PM

So how does that make it ok to add West Coast Contemporary to a mix that clearly does not already contain it!?

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#10 Holden West

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:22 PM

^At what point in the last 150 years did we decide to stop incorporating new architectural styles into the mix?

(By Legislative Precinct, I cast a pretty wide net--I'm including everything in James Bay within a five minute walk of the Leg.)
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#11 G-Man

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 08:09 PM

When I moved here!

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#12 rayne_k

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 02:39 PM

So now we want buildings to blend into each other? No distinction whatsoever?


Can go well, or can go poorly (Pier vs "Westcoast" shops across Beacon Ave). I love it when new contruction picks up architectural features from nearby heritage, A la Centra Gas and Bay Building(s)



No that isn't our Bay building... it's another one.

#13 aastra

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 03:09 PM

That brick portion of Centra Gas that's supposed to blend in with the older building beside it only ends up sticking out like a sore thumb, in my opinion.

#14 G-Man

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 11:12 AM

New building wrong for heritage street
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Font: * * * * Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, December 16, 2006
Re: "New UBCM headquarters an environmental showcase," Dec. 14.

It may be an environmental showcase but, contrary to the architect's statement, it is a sore thumb that sticks out

in a neighbourhood of residential dwellings built in the 19th and early 20th century.

So sad that a heritage building was not moved to the site as it would have completed the block of period buildings on a street much admired by passing tourists.

"Gives a contemporary splash to a heritage neighbourhood," the story said. More like the unexpected slap of cold water.

Right building, wrong place.

Tom Palfrey,

Victoria.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

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#15 Mike K.

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 11:15 AM

Oh good grief...

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#16 Holden West

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 11:16 AM

Mr. Palfrey, an old school heritage preservationist, is under the impression architecture has value primarily when it is organized into pure stylistic ghettoes.

Odd that he advocates moving an existing heritage house from elsewhere (as if the area it's being moved from doesn't require it). Ironic that this attempt at archtectural authenticity is itself an inauthentic act. Let's all pretend this old house was here all the time. And let's also pretend this neighbourhood is anything but what it's been for many decades--government offices.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#17 Urbalist

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 08:35 PM

This is exceptional; very good design solution for a constrained site and will be used to showcase green bldg advancement (incl. green walls). No A/C. My compliments to Antoni James, Arch.




#18 G-Man

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 10:28 AM

Yeah I really like this building too. Though I wish they had brought the face of the building towards the street. I have this feeling they are trying to hide it to appease the neighbours.

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#19 gumgum

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 10:49 AM

It'll be a nice addtion.

#20 captain highliner

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 09:24 AM

This building exemplifies sound design. It features clean lines, truth to materials, and a lack of the historicist pastiche mish mash that seems to dominate so much of the architecture of the last couple decades.

There's a definate resurgence of interest in modernism as of late. Think about Dwell magazine and the efforts of preservationists to protect mid century masterpieces like DiCastri's work. This is undoubtedly a good thing, as it heralds the demise of the intelectually flaccid postmodern movement.

Concern with environmental sustainability combined with the embracing of new technology demands a suitable aesthetic. Much like the earlier iterations of the modern impulse, contemporary modernism looks foreward, and renews our faith in progress over time.

This building could show Victorians what a small scale intervention into an existing historical neighbourhood can do to breath new life into a place.

Oh no! Wait a second... They're putting this on a surface parking lot? Well then I guess I can't in good faith support this , as the surface parking lot may be the most endangered piece of our urban fabric. In the holy name of neighbourhood livability I'll chain myself to any excavator that tries to deface another such cathedral of true minimalism.

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