|The main building at Nootka Court with the Vic Theatre below.|
With three separate entrances on three different streets, all seemingly going into different buildings, it is not obvious that Nootka Court is a cohesive entity or even that it was meant to be that way. Built in 1976, Nootka Court brought together new office buildings and older buildings, creating a unique place in Victoria that is worth walking through.
It is hard now to imagine what the ultimate goal of the architect was, though it would seem, that it was in part to bring a little bit of mystery and surprise to those that entered the space. It may also have been trying to create a place of quiet for those working in the surrounding offices either way, places like this are not created like this anymore. It is maybe that they have evolved into places like The Atrium or perhaps that the complexity of this type place made it too difficult for commercial to succeed.
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|The courtyard and Jagasilk Teabar.|
Despite being a beautiful little project, over the years it has not been the most successful of developments, particularly with the commercial component. The office above is leased to the provincial government and as far as I am aware has never been an issue. Still, because of the fact that in some ways it feels a bit like a walled garden, many people feel hesitant to enter. Because of the serenity though, some places have done well. There used to be one of the best Japanese lunch places in town here, Daidoco, which only closed because the owners wanted to do other things, as it was immensely popular. And even now,
there is an amazing little tea shop set down next to the sunken garden, Jagasilk. Both places were completely meant for Nootka Court. Other places like the Vic Theatre have not done as well over the years, though recently it has been resurrected and as far as I am aware, is the only theatre in Victoria serving drinks with all its shows!
Next time you are near the southern end of downtown take a stroll through Nootka Court and get a sense of a different way of designing an office complex.