The transformation of the Douglas Hotel into the Hotel Rialto is recognized as an important step in revitalizing Victoria’s downtown core.
The original façade incorporated 11 columns in two sizes that were clad with white glazed terracotta tiles.
As they explored options to restore the columns, the developers were faced not only with the cost of replacing the terracotta tile but also finding some way to incorporate seismic upgrading.
They consulted restoration specialists from Szolyd Development Corporation to help reinstate the façade to its original appearance.
Szolyd’s team recommended a solution to clad the existing columns with LaFarge’s Ductal because it offers unprecedented strength and durability and endless flexibility in terms of colour, texture or form.
Szolyd’s team manufactured casings for the existing columns in a pure white D-Roc concrete to match the glazed terra cotta tiles of the 100 year old facade. The company cast thin shells to cover the existing columns that replicate the texture of the original glazed tiles and grout lines.
Szolyd’s solution also addressed the owner’s concern about long term maintenance costs and over all durability of GFRC. The colour of the columns is integral and there is no topical paint required in the process so there are no long term maintenance costs related to painting.
The owner also faced challenges because of the Rialto’s downtown street-level location. The area is prone to graffiti and other vandalism, Szolyd treated the columns with an anti-graffiti coating.
During the course of the renovation, it became apparent that other restoration pieces were needed. Szolyd has also provided curbs and plinths manufactured from traditional concrete to match the original granite as well as skirting tiles for the building, maintaining historical and architectural accuracy during the restoration process.