Arresting perspective: Johnson Street Bridge integral to Victoria’s Old Town

July 22, 2010 at 11:28 pm | In architecture, authenticity, heritage, johnson street bridge, victoria | 5 Comments

Victoria British Columbia residents and visitors may have seen the Johnson Street Bridge before from this perspective, looking west down Johnson Street toward the Harbour:

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But the arresting perspective seen in Eric Porcher‘s photograph drives home a crucial point. Porcher‘s photo clearly shows that the bridge is absolutely integral to the distinctive fabric of Old Town. Consider how well the industrial structure of the bridge, with its girders, beams, and thousands of rivets, answers the density of architectural detail that Old Town’s street facades offer.

If the Johnson Street Bridge is removed and replaced with a generic new bridge, a significant piece of Victoria’s heritage – what makes it uniquely itself – will be excised and lost forever.

It’s obvious that a destruction of the Johnson Street Bridge equates to a mutilation of Old Town. It’s also obvious that our city council speaks with a forked tongue about heritage and has no shame about hypocrisy.

5 Comments

  1. Where are the City planners on this? They deal with skylines, visuals, perspectives…and should be advising the City of Victoria Council on the potentials and problems as it affects development in the immediate area.

    If this were Vancouver in the ’90’s, there would be a huge amount of public data and engagement – which resulted in Yaletown…

    Comment by Mat — July 22, 2010 #

  2. What a fantastic picture. How can they possibly contemplate destroying it!

    Comment by melanieb — July 23, 2010 #

  3. The City’s perspective often seems to be from the opposite side of the water, literally and figuratively.

    One thing I noticed in this photo: the sidewalk is cantilevered off the side of the car span. Yet we are told the same thing can’t be done off the railway span. Hence multimodal path = no rail. Hmmm.

    Comment by Ross — July 24, 2010 #

  4. Good observation, Ross… Hmm, indeed!
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    Mat, I wonder if any of the planners actually live in Victoria. I’m really not sure they do.
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    They can contemplate destroying it, melanie, because they have no imagination. Very sad state of affairs. Oh, and there are undoubtedly little details best summed up in the phrase “follow the money”…

    Comment by Yule — July 24, 2010 #

  5. I like the change in conversation…from an argument of dollars and cents to an argument originating from urban design and saving a piece of our cherished urban fabric. If Victoria were a house from the 1900’s, the blue bridge would be the lovely iron architectural feature that homeowners of heritage homes pay hand over fist to maintain. Individual sentimental value is priceless – wish it could be applied to the bridge as a collective whole.

    Comment by Elisa Yon — July 24, 2010 #

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