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Construction underway for Scottish community centre at View Royal's Craigflower Manor House National Historic Site

A rendering depicting the Craigflower Community & Performing Arts Centre as seen from the Craigflower Manor House at the Craigflower Manor House National Historic Site in View Royal. The project is targetted for a mid-2022 completion.  Victoria Highland Games Association / D'Ambrosio architecture + urbanism

Construction underway for Scottish community centre at View Royal's Craigflower Manor House National Historic Site
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Preliminary construction work has begun on the Victoria Highland Games Association’s (VHGA) Craigflower Community & Performing Arts Centre on Old Island Highway at Admirals Road in View Royal.
 
The VHGA’s plans for a 10,000 square foot Scottish cultural and community complex are slated for excess land adjacent to Craigflower Manor House at the Craigflower Manor House National Historic Site overlooking the shores of Portage Inlet.
 
Construction of the new building is expected to complete in summer of 2022 the hands of Victoria-based Knappett Construction.
 
“It has been an [eight] year journey to get to this point with several Board members leading this project on a full time volunteer basis,” notes a statement posted to the VHGA’s social media.
 
Fundraising efforts to finish and furnish the build are ongoing, according to the organization, with a $250,000 funding drive in effect through 2022 to help mitigate construction cost increases since the start of 2020.
 
“The pandemic has negatively impacted fundraising opportunities, and the significantly increased construction costs over the last year has not helped the project budget at all,” the VHGA’s statement says.
 
Operations of the 1850s-era historic site were taken over by VHGA in 2014, with a formal development application for a cultural centre emerging before the township in 2019.
 
At the time of the approvals process, Jim Maxwell, VHGA president, submitted a letter to View Royal council describing the hall’s proposed design as “circular, inspired by the historic architecture of gathering spaces, and the particularities of the curved, corner [development] site.” Maxwell further noted that the building’s angled shape has “no rear façade, which is important for [the] site because of multiple frontages.”
 
Maxwell continued:
 
“The building has been set into the natural slope of the site to reduce its apparent height and soften its visual impact. The stone walls of the new building rise out of the landscape and wrap around the central event hall, which is envisioned to have a wooden ceiling and an exposed timber structure. The roof of the event hall is sloped, allowing the warmth of the ceiling to be visible though the windows.”
 
Project architect D’Ambrosio architecture + urbanism will use materials inspired by historic barns and shelters that once dominated the area’s landscape to complement the timelessness of the manor while infusing modern design aspects to create an architecturally significant landmark at the entrance to View Royal.
 
Parking for the facility will be in the form of a 55 stall surface lot situated along Admirals Road with an entrance off the thoroughfare.
 
In addition to the centre's cultural uses, the space will also be available to View Royal and area residents as a much needed community and society gathering venue. The building’s envisioned uses will include assemblies, performance arts, conferences, catering, club functions, food services, a museum, a café and restaurant, indoor recreation, and a gift shop.
 
“We believe the new Centre will benefit our entire community, and we are looking for people like you to help us complete this exciting project,” a statement on the project’s website reads. “We envision the multi-purpose main hall will be built to meet professional performing arts standards. The Centre will also provide the major Scottish social hub that has been missing in Greater Victoria since Holyrood House was taken down in the 1990s.” C
 
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