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April 17, 2015

Interior Commercial (British Columbia)
Songhees Wellness Centre

Photo by Bob Matheson
Heavy rain flooded the Songhees Wellness Centre site for weeks, delaying work on the interior and exterior walls.

Location: Victoria

Contractor: Gordon ‘N’ Gordon Interiors

Architect: Chang Holovsky Architects

Team: Bailey Metal Products, CertainTeed Gypsum, Georgia-Pacific, Hilti, Slegg Lumber, Steeler Construction Supply, Winroc

The Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria serves as a mixed-use facility for the Songhees First Nation. The three-story, concrete-and-steel building has been designated LEED silver and includes a 300-person gymnasium, industrial kitchen, administrative offices, boardrooms, and a health center focusing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It also serves as a post-disaster gathering place for the band.

This project was unique in that the Songhees First Nation was involved in every aspect of the project, including the design and construction. Local band society members were hired and trained in skilled trades.

Among the project’s challenges was the 65-foot height of the upper exterior bulkhead at the front of the building over uneven ground. To overcome the challenges of framing and applying exterior gypsum, Gordon ‘N’ Gordon Interiors used a combination of 85-foot boom lifts and brave tradesmen.

Also, the drywall was constantly blending into different-shaped surfaces. For example, many of the drywall ceilings finished into concrete block with a rounded edge. Overcoming such obstacles took ingenious solutions such as heating tear-away bead with a heat gun and molding it to the desired finished shape.

Finally, the West Coast winter weather was a major factor in this project. Torrential downpours flooded the site for weeks, making it impossible to lay out exterior or interior walls. This created some logistical chaos, and the workforce would often have to be increased to meet deadlines.

This project also received the 2014 Judges’ Choice Award for Overall Excellence at the 23rd Annual Commercial Building Awards.

Judge’s comment: “Heavily influenced in every aspect of the project by the Songhees First Nation, this designated LEED silver, mixed-use facility is a tremendous asset to the Songhees band. Bold designs and outstanding installation make this an exciting gathering space for everyone in the community.”

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