The Salt Building


Commonwealth Historic Resource Management
Jonathan Yardley Architect Inc.
Acton Ostry Architects Inc.

The Salt Building is a former industrial structure in the Olympic Village in Vancouver's Southeast False Creek, built around 1930 to process raw salt shipped to Vancouver from San Francisco Bay. It was converted for use as a paper-recycling plant in the 1980s and then lay empty for a number of years.

The Salt Building has been conserved and adapted for new uses by a consortium called the Vancouver Salt Company. Initially re-used as an Olympic athletes' venue, it is being finished for use as a food-and-beverage facility, to include a bakery, a micro-brewery, a cafe, and a restaurant.

Changing the building use from warehouse to assembly, while meeting current Building Code requirements and achieving a LEED Gold rating, involved overcoming a series of challenges. The first was to raise the building just over one meter so that the floor levels met the new road grades and other infrastructure of the Olympic Village. The building is set on 155 wooden piles, so the building was jacked up and galvanized steel pile-cap extensions were installed. This basement area is partially used, but most of it is left as a crawl space and the pilings can be viewed from the perimeter through steel mesh grills.
The interior structure consists of heavy timber trusses with one row of central columns. In order to meet current code requirements these trusses had to be upgraded using a combination of wood to replace rotten units, and steel plates to provide extra resistance. Tubular steel shear walls were inserted at the four corners of the building. The majority of the existing wood framed windows have been retained and refurbished by Vintage Woodworks of Victoria.  To upgrade the building envelope the roof was strapped and insulated on the exterior and covered with asphalt shingles, allowing the tongue and groove decking to be visible from the interior.

The exterior walls are clad with drop siding, the majority of which was retained. A rain screen system was installed to the exterior walls which involved some creative detailing.  All the exterior siding is painted in the original colour scheme. The project carefully followed Parks Canada's Standards & Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.


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