VANCOUVER ISLAND CUSTOM HOUSE
Interior structural bracing commences
Exterior structural bracing commences
The Heritage Custom House project is located in the heart of the inner harbor at 816 Government Street in Victoria, B.C. The heritage demolition and reclamation planned for the popular tourist area, proposed converting the existing property from mixed use commercial & office space, to mixed use – luxury residential, office & retail spaces.
The building was originally built in 1898 yet due to a fire in 1937, was demolished and then replaced by the current structure, in 1957. There is a heritage side and a non-heritage side. The structure would then be demolished in sequential parts. The heritage side would undergo a “heritage alteration” allowing for seismic upgrades to the building’s foundation and interior. A section of the original building’s façade, envelope and exterior walls shall be retained, shored and supported by pre-fabricated braces during the course of construction. The heritage building’s interior will be demolished, renovated and replaced with new construction. The non-heritage side of the structure will be entirely demolished, and a new adjoining construction development will encompass both sections of the building’s envelope structure.
The project faced many obstacles during demolition and heritage structure reclamation works. The project’s location on Government Street, set directly within the harbor attracted quite a bit of attention by the local businesses and tourists alike. M2K faced structural and engineering challenges throughout the deconstruction and demolition process. M2K had to brace the exterior façade of the heritage building using hundreds of steel beams that were strategically placed for support. M2K also installed wood bracing to the interior walls, ensuring the structure would be secure once subsequent demolition activities began. The flooring and roof of the heritage side were then cut away from the non-heritage side permitting demolition of the non-heritage structure. The entire preparation and work processes were truly an engineering masterpiece.
The underground demolition works required several rounds of dynamite to make way for a new underground parkade. The process involved ensuring the exterior façade walls remained standing and structurally stable, despite the enormous rock and earth blasting occurring below. This element of the project attracted many on lookers waiting to catch a glimpse of the orchestrated feat of deconstruction and demolition site works. People visiting the harbor area were mesmerized watching the progress throughout the duration of the project .