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New Royal BC Museum facility in Colwood raises stakes for design

International design competition adds hefty incentives
A new branch of the Royal BC Museum in Colwood’s Royal Bay neighbourhood is expected to be completed by summer 2025. It will house collections, archives and a research department. (Black Press Media file photo)

When you pony up $1 million for second and third place, it speaks volumes about the standards you’re setting for whoever finishes first.

That’s the amount Infrastructure BC has offered for the second and third-place bidders in an international design competition for the Royal BC Museum’s new Collections and Research Building on Metchosin Road in Colwood.

The government-owned body’s decision to offer $1 million in partial compensation is not unusual, Black Press Media was told in an email.

“It is standard business practice, for major infrastructure procurements led by Infrastructure BC, to ensure robust competition and high-quality responses (and) submissions,” the email stated.

The awards are intended to partially cover the cost of participating in the request for proposal (RFP) process, the second stage of the design-build procurement. Only proponents shortlisted during the request for qualifications stage will be invited to participate in the RFP process.

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The proposed facility will house the Royal BC Museum’s archives, collections and research departments, dedicated research labs and learning spaces, and aim to improve access to the museum’s vast collections.

The estimated $170-million building will use mass timber construction and pursue Rick Hansen Foundation accessibility and LEED Gold certifications.

“Once open, the Royal BC Museum will offer unique learning programs here, including learning opportunities both in-person and online,” Infrastructure BC said. “This state-of-the-art facility will create good-paying jobs for people on Vancouver Island and help support B.C.’s economic recovery.”

The shortlisted proponent teams are expected to be identified by the end of this month. The province expects to break ground in the winter of 2022 and complete the project in 2025.

Site preparations are underway for the new facility on eight acres of land in Royal Bay. It will include viewing galleries, native plant galleries and places to observe conservationists at work.

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Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said the new facility will have a positive impact on Colwood schools, students, families, and children for generations.

“Colwood is thrilled to be the future home of the Royal BC Museum’s Collections and Research Building,” Martin said. “The Royal BC Museum is an important part of the fabric of B.C. as holders of the history of our province. Colwood is extremely proud to welcome the new building to our community, along with hundreds of jobs and wonderful learning opportunities.”

“The international design competition will result in a beautiful, energy-efficient building overlooking Colwood’s coastline that will be a game-changer for our community and the West Shore for generations to come,” Martin noted.

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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