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The Hallmark Heritage Society


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#41 sdwright.vic

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:33 PM

^alas no.... we MUST continue to build are big non-de-script rectangular box of a sky line. I for one would be for allowing additional height if the developer but a crown on top of their building. Right now we got developers that can only build to 12 stories and will waste that height on interesting tops to their buildings.

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#42 HB

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 09:12 PM

Yes I am aware of those other bridges and have been over the one in Aberdeen. However Victoria had the only twin bascule bridge of this type left. If you had been active on VV back when the bridge debate was the most active thread going you would have known that. By the way I am not lonely for the old bridge, but I can comment on the rational for it's demise.



Thanks but I didnt need to be posting or active on a forum board to know it was a double bridge.

#43 HB

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 10:13 PM

Unfortunately another piece of our urban fabric that I feel is worthy of preservation but which has already been earmarked for destruction is the Royal British Columbia Museum's 1960's-era Fanin Building (streetview). Fanin is an absolutely wonderful example of international-style architecture but sadly the powers that be feel it is outdated. You can bet your chops the City of Victoria won't get in the way and I certainly haven't heard anything from The Hallmark Society



I agree. It should be a crime that they are going to remove that one.

I look back at buildings such as the TD at Pandora/ Douglas
the Brewery on Government
the Dallas Hotel on Dallas rd or the Driard Hotel
and think what idiots the city decision makers were to let these buidlings fall.
They are going to do it again and there is no need.
Its ironic that museums are home to outr history but the building means nothing and they can dipose of it like trash.

A few decades from now our future generations will look at photos and wonder why we let them tear it down. also a few years or decades from now teh Fannin will be a great historical structure more so than it is now

#44 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:41 AM

Quote" This is a really good point. Consider the HBC building. Why did Townline bother restoring it when the HBC building in Vancouver is basically the same? They could have saved a bunch of money and trouble by demolishing it. Lonely Victorians in need of a nostalgia fix could have hopped on a floatplane at any time to go view the real thing in person."Quote

The Hudson is a heritage designated building for two good reasons: I leave it up to others to pick the one they like the best:

1. It is an important building reflecting the continued expansion of the Hudson's bay Company away from a fur-trading venture and into the retail department store business. It also is an indicator of the pre-WWI optimism of local businesses in that it was constructed in the north end of Victoria's commercial district away from the then center of retail activity. The design, with minor changes, is one used in other locations by the HBC and is reflective of the design of many other major department stores throughout North America at the time. The classical elements within the design are there to indicate a higher level of refinement and to indicate that the goods within have some 'exclusive' value. The developer like to save and utilize heritage buildings

2. The developer received tax credits for the restoration, financial help with the seismic upgrades required and - an increased density on that portion of the property which held the parking lot. While the developer spent more to save the building, they gained more in terms of density. The new design for the rear of the building was modern, well designed and fitted in well. The owners received awards at the local and Provincial level for the successful re-use of the building.

As an aside, the building had no protection prior to the developer volunteering the heritage designation. It could have been demolished with the legal 60 days notice. Anyone could have objected and rallied to save the building but, in the end, property rights may have triumphed.

#45 Mike K.

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:56 AM

The reference to The Hudson's Bay Company building being a duplicate of Vancouver's building and therefore eligible for destruction was tongue-in-cheek in response to HistoryBuff's comment about a similar bascule bridge to the Johnson Street Bridge still standing in Aberdeen, Washington.

Nobody in Victoria would have allowed the HBC building to get torn down and no developer would have dared propose its demolition.

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#46 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:58 AM

Delightful. It is good to have a full and frank discussion.

Northern Junk - The developer is leaving the two buildings as they were with minor changes to accommodate the new development. The Hallmark Heritage Society does not object to that. The Society's concerns are with the design and density of the new buildings.

The Fanin Building - Neither the City of Victoria nor the Hallmark Heritage Society can stop the Provincial Government from demolishing the Fanin Building. While each may object to the demolition and even perhaps the new design, the Provincial government makes the rules regarding land-use. They may listen but they may not hear. The building has no protection under the Local Government Act or under the Heritage Conservation Act.

What we can do is voice our concerns and objections and, if we fail, to try to influence the design of the replacement structures. Again, there is no substitute for good architecture. Perhaps something from Robert A.M. Stern.

#47 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

The reference to The Hudson's Bay Company building being a duplicate of Vancouver's building and therefore eligible for destruction was tongue-in-cheek in response to HistoryBuff's comment about a similar bascule bridge to the Johnson Street Bridge still standing in Aberdeen, Washington.

Nobody in Victoria would have allowed the HBC building to get torn down and no developer would have dared propose its demolition.

Thank you Mike. Some heritage buildings are important.

#48 Mike K.

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:07 AM

Thanks Mr. Johnson. But what I have trouble with is why a heritage preservationist society is so adamant about influencing future design? The majority of residents in this City (and I would wager a substantial majority) do not wish to see legitimate heritage structures being torn down, but they also do not want to have modern architecture mimic heritage architecture. And it's the latter that causes people to butt heads with the Society or at least object to supporting its efforts.

The Fanin Building - Neither the City of Victoria nor the Hallmark Heritage Society can stop the Provincial Government from demolishing the Fanin Building. While each may object to the demolition and even perhaps the new design, the Provincial government makes the rules regarding land-use. They may listen but they may not hear. The building has no protection under the Local Government Act or under the Heritage Conservation Act.


The provincial government has an obligation to listen to its constituents. Believing that the province is above the wishes of local residents is defeatist and I would expect organizations like the Hallmark Society to stand up to government, local or otherwise, to protect heritage and not merely remain silent as another significant piece of our City's heritage disappears at the hands of our elected officials.

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#49 MarkoJ

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

Totally agree, we should be building bold new structures that will become heritage buildings themselves in a hundred years or so.


+1......I try to go to Europe every few years and Vienna is one of my favorite cities. They have a number of examples of new integrated with old. St. Stephen's Cathedral for example is 850 years old and they have new buildings in extremely close proximity. It works quite well in my opinion.

For example, this building is right across from the cathedral....



Looking from the cathedral towards the building.


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#50 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:25 AM

I agree Mike. The Hallmark Heritage Society does not set itself up above everyone/anyone else. Our opinions are just that - opinions. While some may think our influence is too great, I will remind them that, without an advocacy group such as Hallmark, our city would look much different today - think back some 40 years ago when there were other who advocated water front towers and highways cutting through the City. The Hallmark Society did not do anything by itself, it can only act as a focal point.

As for dictating modern designs; we have little influence here but what we have is, as always, filtered through the City Planning Department. they have much more influence on design than we.

Not speaking for the Society but for myself, The City needs some good architectural criticism. I too would like the new buildings to become the heritage buildings of the future. Again, this requires good architecture and a commitment to design as well as density on the part of the City of Victoria.

The OCP want 10,000 more downtown residents - lets not put them into new buildings that become tomorrows slums. Others have tried that before and failed.

#51 rjag

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:33 AM

Perhaps certain councillors need to step down and allow fresh perspectives in regards to design and heritage values..... You know of whom I speak!
They must share the ownership of our race to the bottom in terms of blandness in design

#52 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:37 AM

Perhaps certain councillors need to step down and allow fresh perspectives in regards to design and heritage values..... You know of whom I speak!
They must share the ownership of our race to the bottom in terms of blandness in design


At least they who shall remain un-named do speak about the architecture of the buildings. Others have different issues.

#53 ZGsta

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:40 AM

+1......I try to go to Europe every few years and Vienna is one of my favorite cities. They have a number of examples of new integrated with old. St. Stephen's Cathedral for example is 850 years old and they have new buildings in extremely close proximity. It works quite well in my opinion.

For example, this building is right across from the cathedral....



Looking from the cathedral towards the building.


Yeah I always cite that exact example in Vienna (and all around that city core) as a good illustration of how new buildings and old buildings can interact.

In my opinion, the Hallmark Society is completely out-to-lunch crazy for advocating the faux-heritage Disneyland look for new buildings.

#54 Mike K.

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:56 AM

At least they who shall remain un-named do speak about the architecture of the buildings. Others have different issues.


Unfortunately when they speak the results are often this:



It's difficult to imagine what problem the City had with the Sussex in its original form. Unfortunately the reduction in height and criticism resulted in a non-descript building compared to what had been proposed. And we see this all the time, at every opportunity.

The forces that be gave us such wonderful buildings as Trendwest, much of the Songhees, The Wing in Vic West (a certain councillor's late partner was the architect on record for that beauty, if I'm not mistaken) and countless others. So long as it's short and a throwback to heritage, City Hall historically has loved it. Bold, striking and future heritage has been critiqued and hashed down to the point of absolute mediocrity.

Why?

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#55 Greg

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:53 AM

Northern Junk - The developer is leaving the two buildings as they were with minor changes to accommodate the new development. The Hallmark Heritage Society does not object to that.


This would seem consistent with the mandate of a Heritage Society.

The Society's concerns are with the design and density of the new buildings.


And this seems less consistent with that mandate.

The problem I have with this group is that they seem to be very vocal in announcing their opposition to virtually all new development downtown, but offer little in the way of useful alternative suggestions. To some extent that may be the nature of the organization, much like a theatre critic may critique work without producing any art of their own.

But I think it goes beyond that. Many of these proposed developments are in areas that are in desperate need of change. Northern Junk, Janion and the Plaza Hotel are major blights on Downtown Victoria. In order for those areas to be improved, some developer is going to have to put capital at risk. They will only do that if they have an expectation of "profits." (For some reason Mr. Johnson finds that word difficult to use without quotation marks.) I'd be very interested in the opinion of a group like the Hallmark Society if we were choosing between several proposed projects for redeveloping these sites. It would be important to have a voice represent the value of heritage to be sure it was factored into the decision-making process. But what we are actually choosing between is a proposal to preserve the heritage buildings put forth by a profit-minded developer, and the status quo, which is to leave the heritage buildings to rot inward upon themselves in squalor, surrounded by activities that are not conducive to a healthy downtown.

Heritage is important to the character of an area. But it really is only preserved successfully in cities that are vibrant, have a viable tax base, and are able to fund local government services. Basic needs have to be met before aesthetic needs can be addressed. This desire to separate things like profit and density from the picture strikes me as either naive or purposefully dissociative. If a Heritage Society were working with a singular focus on preserving heritage structures in a city core, they would be engaging with developers in a positive manner. Rather than throwing up roadblocks at every turn, they would be encouraging developers to make the significant investments that are required for preservation, championing their efforts, and working with them to bring more investment to the city core.

#56 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:55 AM

I like the art-deco/moderne look of the Sussex building. It has little to do with traditional architecture. It is clearly a modern building. It is not a building in the now discredited "International Style".

#57 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:08 PM

".....and the status quo, which is to leave the heritage buildings to rot inward upon themselves in squalor, surrounded by activities that are not conducive to a healthy downtown."

Somehow you did not get the message. The Hallmark Society does not, has, not, and would never condone the leaving of buildings to 'rot inwards'. The Society is not against development - only against poor, insensitive and architecturally mediocre development.

No architect is compelled to ask our opinion. No architect is compelled to listen when we express it. In other areas of this general blog, many have expressed opinions on building designs that they like or don't like. We only ask that the new buildings are either of an excellent quality or show respect for what has came before. There are few architects; few projects that do not have some connection to the past.

"Architecture is an art of imagination and memory: it lives in the present and depends upon the past for its meanings and ideas." Robert A.M. Stern - Traditional and Invention in Architecture

#58 Ken Johnson

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

"The problem I have with this group is that they seem to be very vocal in announcing their opposition to virtually all new development downtown, "

This is a totally incorrect comment. The Hallmark Heritage Society has not commented unfavourably to the general development of the Mondrian, The Janion, The ERA, The Duet, the new buildings behind the Hudson, the Union and many others.

#59 amor de cosmos

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:20 PM

I like the art-deco/moderne look of the Sussex building. It has little to do with traditional architecture. It is clearly a modern building. It is not a building in the now discredited "International Style".


it's a building in the discredited postmodern style

#60 Greg

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 01:11 PM

".....and the status quo, which is to leave the heritage buildings to rot inward upon themselves in squalor, surrounded by activities that are not conducive to a healthy downtown."

Somehow you did not get the message. The Hallmark Society does not, has, not, and would never condone the leaving of buildings to 'rot inwards'. The Society is not against development - only against poor, insensitive and architecturally mediocre development.


I think the message that you would like us to get is not entirely consistent with the actual actions of the group. The key to me is you seem to always contrast the proposed development being tabled, with some theoretical design which only exists as an abstract concept in the minds of The Hallmark Society. I think the better comparison is the proposed project, any alternative proposed or otherwise validated as economically viable projects, and the status quo.

Take the Northern Junk building. How do you see that playing out. Let's suppose that your efforts to thwart that development were successful, and the developer walks away. What happens next? How does this result in a "win" for heritage buildings or the downtown area in general?

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