The Tudor House in Esquimalt has risen from the ashes with a towering wall of glass, steel, concrete and greenery.
The new liquor store is now open, replacing the 109-year-old Tudor House Pub that burnt down in 2013. At 21 feet high and 9,000 square feet, the structure is an ambitious, bold design.
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The glass facade is particularly unique. On the north side, the glass triangles are held together with metal clamps and silicone making the joints virtually invisible, a seamless “accordion” wall of glass with panes up to 20 feet high and 21 feet wide.
Inside, the store is a glass and concrete box, with wood elements to warm the colour pallet. Running along the top of the south side is a “live wall” of plants with a complex, automated irrigation system that is completely concealed.
“The Tudor House was a statement piece back in its day: it was modern, great architecture, and you can never rebuild that. When you lose it, unfortunately you lose it. So we really decided again to go with a statement piece for this corner,” said one of the owners, who did not want to be identified because he has allegedly been harassed by members of the public about his business.
It’s clear from the outside that the new Tudor House doesn’t look much like the old one, but the owners have not forgotten the location’s history.
Leading up the stairs to the second floor is a collage of photos of the old Tudor House when it was a pub, and Sailors Club before that.
And while the look is different, the owners hope its function will be similar and become a new hub for the community, with wine tasting, cooking lessons and art shows planned for the space in the near future.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins thinks the business is a great addition to the community.
“It’s been lamented over and over again, the loss of that corner property. And the store is a beautiful architectural statement for our community,” she said. “(The owners) are community players. They participate in so many ways in the community.”
While some are nostalgic for the old pub, others are embracing the new.
“For me the design is very good, because it’s a very different building, and when you come from (Admiral Road), I think it’s great,” said Esquimalt resident Luda Tkatchenko.
However, she does miss the building.
“Of course it was gorgeous, but very old, and unfortunately (it burned). New building – why not? It’s better than nothing.”
As for the pub, it may not be gone forever. The owners may be building a pub on the lot depending on the success of the liquor store over the next few months.
A grand opening is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 20. There will be a live band and barbecue.