City Hall Annex
Victoria City Hall Annex
Links and documents
1963/01/01 to 1964/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The City Hall Annex is a two-storey concrete and brick-clad wing attached to the Victoria City Hall's Victorian-era main building. Designed in the New Formalist style, the Annex is a key component of a mid-twentieth century civic complex that includes a large, sloped plaza, a central fountain, and three other contemporary structures.
Designed in 1963 as an annex to the late nineteenth century City Hall, this structure is important as a key component of a mid-twentieth century urban renewal project known as Centennial Square. This ambitious project, which commemorated Victoria's civic incorporation, was also one of the earliest urban revitalization and heritage conservation projects in Canada. Seeking to beautify, modernize and rejuvenate Victoria's depressed city core, the Centennial Square project was part of a larger redevelopment scheme that aspired to revive Victoria's downtown through realignment of streets, demolition of derelict buildings, and the creation of a modern monumental civic space in the heart of the city.
The City Hall Annex is important as one of four structures to be completed as part of the Centennial Square project. Integrating the existing City Hall as the cornerstone of the project, the redevelopment plan introduced a number of references to historic ceremonial civic plazas such as the Piazza del Campodoglio in Rome, and the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. The framing colonnades and arcades reinforce the role of City Hall as the symbolic centre of civic government and provide a central focus for public events and gatherings. The articulation of the individual structures allows access from all sides, and the arcades allow open views under the Annex which connect the plaza visually to Broad Street.
Additionally, the City Hall Annex is valued for its modernist architecture, exemplifying New Formalism styling, which was popular for civic construction at the time. Uniting classical traditions such as repetitive arches, bay windows and brick detailing with contemporary materials and methods, City Hall was Victoria's first example of the historicist influence on Modernism. Following the precedent of historic market halls located on public plazas, arched openings encircle the base of the building, while also referencing the arched forms of the earlier City Hall. The glazed connection to the original City Hall is a deferential gesture that provided an innovative way to link the new and old buildings. Additionally significant is the intact interior of the Annex, with a processional entry connecting the dramatic entry lobby with the Council Chamber.
The City Hall Annex is an important commission by a prominent local architectural firm, Wade, Stockdill, Armour and Partners. Originally formed as a partnership between John Wade and Dexter Stockdill, this firm was one of the most influential in the development of modern architecture in British Columbia, and was also responsible for the design of Saanich Municipal Hall (1963-65).
Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the City Hall Annex include its:
- continuous use as a civic facility
- placement within the Centennial Square complex, bordering the adjacent space of the plaza, and placement relative to the earlier City Hall building, with visual links under the building to Broad Street and beside the building to Pandora Avenue
- institutional form, scale and massing as expressed by its rectangular two-storey plan, smaller rectangular two-storey glazed foyer that connects to the original City Hall, and flat roof
- masonry construction: reinforced concrete construction, exposed in a variety of finishes; pre-cast concrete wall panels with an exposed-aggregate finish; and red-brick first storey detailing
- ornamented New Formalist styling as expressed by: rounded arches encircling the ground floor; square-sided bay windows on the second storey; pierced, gold-coloured aluminum window screens; second-storey balcony overlooking Centennial Square; two draft lobbies with curved brick walls and double sets of doors; and concrete, waffle slab ceilings
- regular fenestration with plate glass in aluminum-sash frames
- original interior configuration, which retains its processional sequence of entry, including: a two-storey foyer with flying ramp and mezzanine; open circular staircase to the second floor; reception lounge; council chamber; aldermen's anteroom and lounge; and adjacent committee rooms
- original interior materials including: terrazzo floors, steps and window ledges; walnut fittings such as panelling, folding doors and built in council chamber furniture; vinyl floor tiles; light fixtures including suspended ceiling fixtures of walnut and plastic, and stainless steel sconces and ceiling fixtures; continuity of materials with the exterior such as brick and exposed-aggregate concrete cladding; aluminum balustrades and etched glass doors
- associated landscape features such as abutting brick planters, and concrete paving with red brick detailing
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Town or City Hall
Architect / Designer
Wade, Stockdill, Armour and Partners
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning and Development Department
Cross-Reference to Collection