The project consisted of the repair and restoration
of the exterior of the Birks building, with enhancements
to the facade at grade level.
The building facade had been subject to significant deterioration, including both the stucco surface and the substrate. Some of the terracotta detailing, particularly at the window surrounds, had also suffered significant damage. At grade level, a 1950 alteration had left this portion of the facade out of character with the rest of the building.
Our approach to the problem was based upon Heritage policy, and developed in close consultation with Heritage Authorities. Our objective was to be faithful to the original facade design, while integrating contemporary design elements such as a glass canopy and bus shelter.
One of the key design challenges was the development of a new ground level facade to replace the 1980s-style stone appliqué. We employed contemporary technologies and materials to complement and strengthen the dominant architectural order of the upper floors of the structure, and have achieved a integrated, architectural whole.
We were particularly concerned with employing building technologies which would preserve the appearance of the original building, while remaining durable, and allowing the original building fabric to breathe.