Description of Historic Place
The Fortress Plotting Room sits on hilly terrain within Fort Rodd Hill. Carefully camouflaged by a wall, the structure is defined by the projecting single-storey entrance, the paired doorways, the two rectangular airshafts and the earth cover behind the L-shaped concrete structure. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Fortress Plotting Room is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Fortress Plotting Room is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the ‘Ultimate Plan’, a series of pre-Second World War activities to ensure adequate defences on Canada’s west coast. The structure contained the range finding equipment that was designed to track and direct fire on enemy ships from a central position. It was crucial to the running of the fortress, and it was the most sophisticated technological development within Fort Rodd Hill during the Second World War.
The Fortress Plotting Room is a good example of a specialized coastal defence structure. Designed to house the fortress range plotter, it is both sophisticated and functional. This is exemplified in both the camouflaged, protected exterior and also by the protected interior that is capable of sealing itself off. Concealed by earth, the subterranean structure is both bombproof and gas-proof. The Fortress Plotting Room was designed to house the mechanism that coordinated the tracking and response activities of 18 gun emplacements protecting the coast.
Partly disguised by rocks above ground level, most of the Fortress Plotting Room is covered by earth protection and natural vegetation. Its discreet appearance, characteristic of coastal defences, reinforces the military appearance of the site.
Joan Mattie, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgarde Light station, 603, Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood, B.C. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 96-096.
Fortress Plotting Room, 603 Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood, British Columbia. Heritage Character Statement 96-096
The following character-defining elements of the Fortress Plotting Room should be respected, for example:
Its functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship such as:
-The simple low massing of the heavily reinforced concrete structure with its single-storey, camouflaged, flat roofed entrance.
-The simply detailed concrete formwork with horizontal board forming and embedded stonework and earth overburden.
-The functional interior planning which includes airlock entrances, changing areas, isolated engine room for de-gassing, an air conditioning plant, and a central room for the plotter.
-The rectangular air exhaust shafts.
The manner in which the Fortress Plotting Room reinforces the present character of the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site as evidenced in:
- The overall inconspicuousness of the structure within the park-like, open setting, characteristic of coastal defences.