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12 Updates of Christmas Pt 4

Of Framing and the Phantom Menace



Dear Friend,

Hi from Lopez Contracting! I hope you’re enjoying the cheer of the holiday season!


As a child, when I moved back to my birth city of Victoria, my family settled down in Gordon Head. We were a hop, skip, and jump away from the University Heights shopping mall. It was my first real introduction to city life, and when I wasn’t in school or the basketball court you could have been sure to find me there. In this complex we really had everything a young starry-eyed kid needed, and there were some classic locations you don’t see too much of in Victoria anymore, like a Zellers, Safeway, and even a Boot smith! 


Downstairs there was a cinema hall where I watched some prime examples of cinema from that era, it was a precious bonding moment with my late mom who was a cinephile. I remember being astounded when I heard there was going to be a new Star Wars movie. I was a huge Star Wars nerd even before the prequels came out, and though there’s still a debate over the sequels vs the prequels, for my young self, there was nothing that could compare to watching The Phantom Menace on the big city screen when all I had seen before was VHS Star Wars movies on a Shawnigan Lake TV.


My life and upbringing had a close connection to the University Heights mall. As I came of age, I even got my first bank card there. Up till quite recently, I would take my wife and kids to JJ Morgans, a Victoria staple, where we enjoyed their great Sunday Buffet offering, including roasted beef, pork, Jello and salads. It was so popular, especially with the elder crowd, that one had to call a day ahead to book a seat. We were often there to celebrate special occasions, like family reunions and when hosting guests from Korea, the Philippines, and across the world.


Even though University Heights doesn’t exist the way it once did, it still had relevance to my life. We had the privilege to be hired by 090 Builder’s Group for the framing of the development happening in the complex, and to my surprise I found myself and the team framing smack dab over top of where JJ Morgans once stood.


The beautiful thing about this project is it’s right across McKenzie and you can see pretty much all of Victoria, Oak Bay, Mt. Doug, and a lot more. Our team was engaged in floor diaphragms, joisting, blocking, sheeting, guardrails and wall framing, as well as the entire roof assembly and the decking. If that sounds like hard work it’s because it definitely is! It was incredibly rewarding, however, as not only were we proud to conduct this work, but as we were working 6 levels up on the roof from the morning to the night, we got to see the sunrise and sunset every day, and it was breathtakingly gorgeous.


It’s been such an honour and privilege to work with the 090 team, who were excellent as supervisors and gracious as our co-workers. We hope to be back on site in the coming year to continue on the following buildings, and as always, we’re eager to be subcontracted for any general contractor looking to hire our skilled and dedicated team for any construction related project.


Thank you so much for your time, Friend. We deeply appreciate your support of our friendly neighbourhood one-stop workshop! We're always glad to be of service, and on behalf of our team we wish you happy holidays!

Kind regards,

Matthew Lopez
General Contractor
Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd
+1 (250) 885-2902


About Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd:

Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd is a local and emerging artisanal contracting company that specializes in highly custom projects, ranging from renovations to bespoke commissions such as live-edge furniture. Our one-stop shop strongly values our community, and we strive to operate within a 100% local network of partnered suppliers, sub-trades, artisans, and specialists. Our wood supply network, for example, sources largely from local ethical arborists.

We host a beautiful and diverse display of Vancouver Island’s finest lumber specimen, ready to be kilned, milled, sanded, edged, finished, or otherwise prepared right here in our shop for any discerning patron or project. Our one-stop shop offers singularly rare and unique services right here in the heart of Victoria, including one of downtown’s only kiln, lathe, and CNC services.


Where can you find us online?






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Our Triple Crown Philosophy

Some years ago, I innately understood that a building structure should have three important attributes. First, it should be structurally sound. Second, it should be aesthetically pleasing. Third, it should be attainable or affordable. Ever since, I have strived to make everything I do worthy of this triple crown of excellence.

During a ferry ride to Vancouver, I saw my young son had drawn Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man in my notebook. To my surprise, my son’s sketch led me to discover the historic importance of this idea. This world-famous sketch of a man in a circle, his arms outstretched in two different overlapping poses, has become iconic. A Wikipedia search showed me how Da Vinci was inspired by proportions described by Vitruvius in his ancient treatise of De Architectura.

Vitruvius was arguably the greatest architect in history. His work is the only major surviving publication on architecture from classical antiquity. It was written for Emperor Augustus, made famous in the Bible for his census which brought Jesus’ parents to Bethlehem. Eminent Roman architects such as Vitruvius were skilled in engineering, art, and craftsmanship. As an army engineer himself, Vitruvius had overseen all manner of building and construction for wars and settlements across Europe and North Africa.

The most famous maxim of Vitruvius was that architecture should embody three qualities: utilitias, firmitas, and venustas. In English, this means that great handiwork should be useful, sturdy, and with beautiful proportions. (Just imagine what Venus, the goddess of love, might look like.)

I was delighted and not disappointed to find out that my idea was old and not new. It gives me more motivation than ever to offer you the product of a triple crown craftsman: sturdy, useful, and beautiful work at a reasonable price.