Plein-air pen and wash on paper

The Bastion

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The Bastion is an octagonal shaped timber structure in the shape of a tower,  located in downtown Nanaimo and originating from the 18th century.  A few years ago when still working for RJC Engineers, I had the privilege of developing a rehabilitation plan including detailed  construction documents to restore this iconic building for the City of Nanaimo.

It is a unique structure; a replica model can be seen in the Nanaimo Museum. The walls were built from individual timber logs that slide into the vertical grooves of the eight corner colomns. The roof in the shape of a witches’ hat was removed in one piece and temporarily parked on the adjacent  plaza. All columns and logs were removed, inspected, labelled and recorded. Many wood components were  partly or entirely decayed and were repaired/replaced with new locally grown cedar or fir materials by a subcontractor who specializes in the restoration of historical timber structures. The tower was re-assembled meeting national  standards for the restoration of historical buildings.

Records showed that several of the same decayed wood components were also replaced during a similar restoration project in the 1990’s. To avoid this from re-occuring or to mitigate the decaying process of the wood, the structure is draped with netting every fall to reduce the exposure to the weather, particularly the wind driven rain from the south–east. This netting is removed again in the spring. During the summer the Bastion serves as a heritage attraction operated by the Museum.


The Nanaimo Bastion

Pen&Ink with watercolour on Fabriano 140 lb , cold pressed paper in 9″ x 12″ block.


Author: John Hofman

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