Saturday, August 7, 2010

Barry Downs at UVic

In the already lush and leafy environs of the University of Victoria campus, the Sedgewick building stands out through its sheer sensitivity and integration with the landscape.

Designed by Barry Downs in 1968-69, it houses humanities and administration departments and sits at the western edge of the circular campus, surrounded now by newer buildings and increasingly dense foliage.

Quintessentially west coast, Sedgewick was designed with a deep connection to the site, strengthened by a compact massing and a material continuity through the stained cedar cladding. Comprised of three one-story structures, with windows set back under eaves looking out onto salal and cedars, the layout has a dynamism due to shifting planar forms and walls that shoot past normal termination points.

Sedgewick embodies qualities which Downs has explored his whole career: human scale, deep connection to the west coast and a sense of understatement and restraint. Echoes of these buildings can be seen in his residential work and in the later Pearson College (1974) which he worked on with Ron Thom in nearby Pedder Bay.

1 comment:

Cameron said...

Looks like I have a reason to visit UVic next time traveling inthe area.