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[James Bay] Royal British Columbia Museum redevelopment | 14-, 12- & 10-storeys | Proposed

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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:45 PM

Royal-BC-Museum-vision.gif
 

Royal British Columbia Museum unveils bold plan for change
By Robert Randall, VibrantVictoria.ca
http://vibrantvictoria.ca/?p=2049

Representatives from the Royal British Columbia Museum yesterday presented a daring vision for the future of the entire 2.7 hectare complex. The plan was presented to City Council on Wednesday and a media briefing will be held today.

The museum is seeking a rezoning--the first step in a massive restructuring of the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) site that envisages the demolition of the sunken gardens, the outdated 1969 Fannin Building (aka the curatorial tower) and nearby archives building. In its place, a small, dense cluster of towers would surround the existing 1967 exhibition building and the more recent IMAX theatre next to it. [...]
 

 


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#2 aastra

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:09 PM

Wow. I'm surprised by how ambitious this plan is. I'm all for making the place larger and better, but I'm surprised they'd want to eliminate just about every trace of that late-1960s architecture. I actually like the curatorial tower. I like the cladding and the glassy north face. It's one of the more attractive post-war office buildings in Victoria. But I've also worked in that building so I know how crappy it is in there. And the other faces aren't really anything special.


picture from http://www.flickr.co...e-bh/446810632/

#3 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:12 PM

Where's the money coming from to do all this? They are going to build commercial space?

#4 aastra

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:49 PM

Makes you wonder what will happen with the admission prices.

More space to do more of what they've done so well in the past would be great. But if they do this wrong, the RBCM could end up with a standard-issue glassy addition, and the spaces inside the museum could end up being bigger but not really better. The RBCM is a large museum by Canadian standards but it doesn't feel impersonal, which is one of its great strengths. Methinks it feels this way precisely because there's so much good stuff crammed into a facility that really isn't adequate to the task.

Any plans for significant underground parking? Is there no way the Art Gallery could get a piece of this space?

#5 Mike K.

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:59 PM

^perhaps an art gallery is part of a grander commercialization of the property.

Residential buildings appear to be major components of the new plan.

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#6 aastra

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:09 PM

If those are supposed to be residential buildings at the back there then their lowest six or seven floors would have no view whatsoever.

#7 Bernard

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:14 PM

How will they fund it?

The BC Archives have been in need of more space for years, I am sure they would be willing to pay part of the freight.

The RBCM has also done a lot of work in fundraising. Raising money to build things is easier than getting money to pay for day to day operations. They have gone from $250,000 in 07/08 to $714,000 in 08/09 and a projected $1,050,000 in 09/10

Revenues have been better than planned for for several years. 25% more revenue in 07/08 than projected, the revenues in 08/09 grew by another 31.7%

Donations and operation revenues was projected to be $5,050,000 in 07/08 to a projected $9,550,000 this year. The 10/11 and 11/12 projections are very conserative with respect to operation revenues but has fundraising bringing in close to $1.5 million in 11/12

They projected their grant from the province will be lower in 11/12 than in 07/08.

The RBCM is also sitting on about $13 million in retained earnings.

By the way, the RBCM pays the city about $750,000 in taxes each year

#8 aastra

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:28 PM

If that 5-story concrete office block along Superior were included in this then the residential/office potential would improve dramatically.

#9 Rob Randall

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:36 PM

The art gallery is an interesting possibility. But they would run into the same old problem of not wishing to be a minor add-on to a larger development. They want a distinctive presence.

I can't confirm a planned residential portion specifically. It might be that they want to reserve the right to have residential in the event the office space market collapses. They still need to build excess revenue-producing space that can be used by the archives in the future.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#10 Pyroteknik

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:41 PM

Very interesting plan, and I'd like to see it happen. Hopefully it can clear the barriers of the James Bay Community Association? Or is this considered downtown?

#11 gumgum

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:45 PM

This is James Bay.

#12 G-Man

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 08:05 PM

I was in the museum recently and was thinking how small it seemed.

#13 Rob Randall

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:01 AM

I'm sorry I wasn't able to upload this photo earlier to go along with the article. It shows an architectural massing model. Like the pencil crayon sketch in the article it is only intended to show the possible density massing. It doesn't represent the final design.




The wood pieces are the existing museum.

You can see the art-deco Douglas Building at the lower left (this view is looking north toward Belleville). At the top, the carillon is moved to the right (east) a little bit. If it can't be moved safely, it will be rebuilt. That might be a good idea anyway since the carillon is not seismically safe. You can see the cube-like IMAX in the upper left quadrant of the photo next to the original exhibition building. Surrounding it are the clear plastic pieces that represent the new additions.

The IMAX can't be rebuilt because of the leasing arrangement so they will have to build around it.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#14 G-Man

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 06:45 AM

According to the news this morning there is no plans for residential or commercial beyond the services related to the museum.

Also this is a long term vision and I would say unlikely to move forward in the next few years.

#15 Rob Randall

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:13 AM

According to the news this morning there is no plans for residential or commercial beyond the services related to the museum.

Also this is a long term vision and I would say unlikely to move forward in the next few years.


General office space is definitely part of the plan. It will serve as a revenue source until it's needed for collections, then it will be converted.

As far as residential, I didn't get the impression there would be any condos however, the RBCM Comprehensive Development Zone was described as being a similar type of zoning to Dockside Green and Selkirk.

The RBCM document says the Multiple Residential aspect of the zoning "allows consideration of residences to address potential community needs for future generations".

So it sounds like they don't want to shut out the possibility of future condos but I don't know where they could possibly fit.

The property envelopes the neighbouring Glenshiel seniors residence but the development zone appears to exclude the footprint of the building itself.

I'm going to speculate wildly and say that if the bottom falls out of the office market, they could be built as leased apartments, although conversion to exhibition space would be harder.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#16 G-Man

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:23 AM

^ On the news today they said the zone includes that residence and that is why it has to be included in te rezoning.

I would expect any office that is built to be used by the government.

#17 Mike K.

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:59 AM

It would certainly make sense for provincial government offices currently scattered among multiple bunkers and aging facilities throughout James Bay to consolidate office space under one roof.

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#18 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 11:21 AM

It would certainly make sense for provincial government offices currently scattered among multiple bunkers and aging facilities throughout James Bay to consolidate office space under one roof.


Why? If anything, technology and interconnectivity should be making it much less of a priority to have to be together under one roof.

#19 Bernard

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 11:41 AM

For the archives it would be very useful to bring everything under one roof, right now more and more stuff is stored off site.

#20 D.L.

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:09 PM

Wow, big news! Though it seems like a waste to demolish so much of the existing structure, like the newish lobby and the curatorial tower. The archives I can understand because it along with the sunken garden are underutilized space.

Is the curatorial tower really so bad that it needs to be scrapped entirely? Could it be renovated?

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