ryan premises national historic site

The authentic restoration of six wood frame structures on the waterfront in the historic community of Bonavista – including: an elegant house; a barn; salt fish plant; and general storage sheds – was a proj­ect of considerable cultural significance. The Ryan Fishing Premises presented the daunting challenge of facilitating tourism and providing exhibition space for the interpretation of the Newfoundland fishery; while maintaining the character of the vernacular structures, meeting modern day code requirements and stabilizing the entire complex from the vagaries of time and the elements. These structures, con­structed between 1860 and 1930, represent one of the few remaining mercantile complexes of that era. Most of the recurring themes in Newfoundland history and culture pertain to the fishing industry, therefore, it could be argued that this project is one central to the provincial psyche.

The interior restoration and new interventions required to accommodate modern systems and services encompassed a total floor area of approximately 1980m². The detailed project requirements included conformance with the National Treasury Risk Management policy, the National Building and Fire Codes, the incorporation of barrier-free standards and mechanical / electrical requirements, all in support of meeting the client’s interpretation needs for commemorating the themes and objectives of the site.

Sheppard Case Architects provided full time supervision of the construction work which was carried out, on schedule, over a six month period and completed in the spring of 1997. The original contract amount of the project was $1,195,000 and an additional $118,500 was approved in Change Orders ow­ing mainly to site conditions. As per PWGSC policy, a post-occupancy evaluation was performed on this project. The outcome justified the selection of the Sheppard Case Architects for the project and verified the firm’s commitment to the project.

The Ryan Premises formed the nucleus of a cultural industry on the Bonavista Peninsula that is the envy of all of Newfoundland and much of Canada. Therein lays its success. Sheppard Case Architects are now synonymous with this work and as a result, have been involved with almost every historical renovation, restoration, or re-creation in the district. These projects have ranged from entire historical townscape masterplans to expert advice on authentic detailing. We have been prime consultants for the Trinity Interpretation Centre; the Fisherman’s Advocate Building and Townsite row houses in Port Union; the Rising Tide Arts Centre; Cape Bonavista Lighthouse; St. Peter’s Church in Catalina; the George Family Forge; and the Garrick Theatre.

CLIENT: The City of Corner Brook

SERVICES: Architect and Project Management

BUDGET: $1.3 million

SIZE: 1,980 m²

LOCATION: Bonavista, Newfoundland

STATUS: Completed 1997