Home Lumber Company Office
470 Ardersier Road, Saanich, British Columbia, V8Z, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Home Lumber Office is a small-scale one-storey contemporary office building, composed of timber and glass set on a terrazzo podium, located in the Saanich Core area of Saanich.
The Home Lumber Office is valued for its association with leading Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. By the time of construction of this building in 1972, Erickson had already achieved national and international prominence for his designs of Simon Fraser University and for his numerous Modern houses. Widely renowned as Canada's most brilliant architect, Erickson's reputation is important to the growth of post-Second World War modern architecture in Canada and North America.
The Home Lumber Office is valued architecturally as one of Erickson's most successful small-scale designs. A cohesive expression of simple lines and ultimate transparency, this structure reduces the idea of post-and-beam West Coast Modernism to its most simplistic and refined elements. Based on a square floor plan and a .9 metre (three foot) module throughout, the elegant pavillion structure is an exploration of simple geometry. The large pyramidal glass skylight hovers above the cantilevered timber roof structure, illuminating the open-plan interior space. The structure is formally sited upon an elevated terrazzo podium, which provides a visual and spatial balance with the overhanging eaves. Erickson expressed the function of the building as an office that is comfortable, light and efficient.
The Home Lumber Office is also of significance for its position with the development of Erickson's larger body of work. He was originally acquainted with a member of the Jawl family through his involvement with the design of the Sikh Temple in Vancouver (Erickson/Massey Architects, 1969-70). In this later commission, he further abstracted the formal geometry of Indian religious symbols down to their simplest form. Many of Erickson's buildings, especially his residences, are conceived as free-standing pavilions, and this is one of his most successful translations of this concept into a commercial building. Subtle uplighting at night dissolves the solidity of the structure and gives the roof an apparent weightlessness.
The structure is also significant for the refinement of detail displayed in its design and construction. The columns were milled to taper as they rose, and sheets of tinted glass are set into channels in the terrazzo and the wood without visible trim. Although simple in appearance, the roof was complicated to construct, and was built first on the ground, and then raised by crane so that the rest of the building could be constructed beneath.
The office building is further valued for its connection to the Jawl family, who have strong community connections as entrepreneurs and benefactors in Saanich. Jawl Industries was formed in 1964 by four brothers, Robert, Karnel, Sohan and Mohan Jawl, and this building has served since 1972 as their head office.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich
The elements that define the heritage character of the Home Lumber Office include its:
- form, scale and massing
- timber frame, consisting of large-scale heavy timber elements
- wooden columns, tapering as they rise from 30 centimetres square to 20 centimetres square
- cantilevered timber roof struts
- pyramidal glass skylight
- tinted glass
- elevated terrazzo podium
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Wood and/or Paper Manufacturing Facility
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich
Cross-Reference to Collection