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Rezoning & Development Permit in Victoria

This project is located on one of most prime locations in Victoria, BC; intersection of Johnson Street Bridge & Harbour Road. The project has been designed since 2010 with different design iteration proposed by multiple architecture firms. What makes it a tricky site is its adjacency to the Northern Junk heritage buildings on Wharf Street. This design proposal consisted of eight stories,103 residential units and a full heritage restoration of the Northern Junk buildings on Wharf Street at Johnson Street in downtown Victoria. The units ranged between studio, 1BR, 2BR, 3BR, live-work, & penthouse units. The materiality had to respect the existing context surrounding the site.

Architect: DIALOG

Developer: Reliance Properties

2017/ 2018

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The proposed ‘flatiron’ form of the new buildings creates a natural view termination at the corner of Johnson and Wharf with its highest point stepping visually down to the harbour as the building widens to frame and respond to the existing urban structure. This prominent site is matched by the proposed robust building form used to frame and define a series of public open spaces and to integrate the renewed heritage structures of the Fraser and Caire Grancini warehouses (Northern Junk Buildings) on site.

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Massing is stepped inward above the 5th storey and opened up at ground level to allow views of the water and the heritage buildings within the site.

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A strong masonry volume with a consistent 5-storey datum is defined by large brick frames divided into storefronts by brick piers at sidewalk level and residential balconies above. Overhanging balconies are avoided within the brick volumes to be more in keeping with the commercial and warehouse architectural heritage of this area.

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Nested within the masonry elements is another pair of volumes articulated in metal and glass coloured to reference the warm earth-tones of Old Town brick but using a more contemporary material. These volumes are arranged around an internal light well that brings natural light into the corridors and amenity spaces of the residential building.

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A palette of durable high-quality materials has been carefully selected to speak to the existing architectural context and to bring a contemporary sensibility to some of the new elements.

All public edges are activated by commercial frontage and residential units with home occupation uses. Lobby and storefront entrances provide frequent punctuation and access to the project at grade.

New outdoor seating opportunities are provided along the waterfront walk and the internal mews.

Courtesy of DIALOG


Footprint established by view access and loading bay requirements


One storey structure in keeping with Northern Junk scale. Establishes commercial mews between old & new.


Corner raised at intersection to create gateway. Echoes the varied roof line of the heritage buildings & draws the eye up to the new building.


Northern facade is canted to furthur open the views to heritage and increase sunlight access to internal mews.


Rooftop patio oriented to views over Reeson Park , accessed by exterior stairs.


New structures have been carved back to allow views from downtown to the heritage buildings. New structures echo forms, glazing proportion and materials of the heritage buildings without overtly replicating them.

Multiple pedestrian routes are provided into and around the project creating new ways to connect downtown with the waterfront and completes the David Foster Way connection from Reeson Park to the Johnson Street Bridge.

© 2016 by Savannah Alhaj

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