SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

Issues in the Salvage and Reuse of Terra Cotta: Two Case Studies


The historic Winch, Times, Driard, and Marks & Spencer Buildings formerly occupied a site near the center of downtown Victoria, British Columbia. The Winch Building, constructed in 1912, was a two-story structure with a Classical white glazed terra cotta facade. The Times Building was built circa 1910 as the headquarters of a newspaper company. Its facades were constructed of brick and sandstone with a sheet metal frieze and cornice. The Driard Hotel had eclectic brick and sandstone facades and ornamental cast iron panels. The Marks & Spencer Building was constructed as a Kresge drugstore. Its two-story brick facades were decorated with ornamental polychrome terra cotta panels with an Art Deco motif. Together, the four buildings comprised an interesting and decorative historic core for this portion of the downtown commercial district.

In 1987, prior to the authors' involvement in the project, it was decided that these four historic structures would be demolished to make way for new construction, the Phase II structures of the Victoria Eatons Development. As a compromise measure between the developer and the City and concerned citizens of Victoria, it was also decided at that time that the decorative terra cotta, stone, and metal elements of the four facades would be retained and used as part of the new Phase II facades. The authors' firm was asked to provide consulting services for the conservation, preservation, repair, and restoration of the salvaged terra cotta, stone, and metal elements.

The terra cotta facades of the Victoria Eatons project represent a variety of types and installations of terra cotta, and a range of approaches to salvage and reinstallation. This paper examines issues of salvage and reuse of existing terra cotta, as illustrated by the Winch Building and the Marks & Spencer Building. Issues addressed include removal of building components without damage or destruction; reinstallation to match the historic appearance of all or part of the original facade; integration of new substrates and structural systems; and incorporation of new details to accommodate original building components and new structural systems.

Author Information

Slaton, D
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Chicago, IL
Morden, MR
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Seattle, WA
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Developed by Committee: E06
Pages: 307–318
DOI: 10.1520/STP15445S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5321-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2006-8