The Driard Hotel

Determining the Original Colours for The Driard Hotel

The Driard Hotel was built in 1892 and was long the premier Hotel in Victoria. When later used as a part of Eaton’s Department Store, the hotel was painted an overall pale yellow, which hid the architectural features of the facade.

When it was determined that the facade of the hotel – with a rebuilt roof – would be retained as part of the new Eaton Centre Mall, Stuart Stark was hired to research the original colours of the facade. Taking samples from the dismantled building parts, it was determined that the Romanesque-style building has distinct building elements, including cast iron spandrels between the windows on the facade. Original colours that were applied to the building included dark red for the cast iron spandrels, a green-black for the window frames and sash stone grey was applied to parts of the building to simulate stone carvings.

One element of the restoration not completed was the colour of the mortar between the bricks. Originally the hotel featured a deep, rich brick-red mortar between the bricks (and not the grey which was used) which would have made the walls look as they were intended to – a flat, overall red, smooth and monumental building facade – which is a distinctive feature of the Romanesque-style of architecture. Then the walls and the red cast iron spandrels would have appeared seamless, and the only texture would have been in the moulded spandrels themselves.