Description of Historic Place
Royal Canadian Air Force Hangar 7 on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Goose Bay, also known as Building 251, is a monumental, three-storey high rectangular and flat-roofed structure. Its west elevation consists of full-height interlocking light-toned doors, which slide open into lateral pockets. Its east elevation is comprised of three openings equipped with similar doors. The building’s sidewalls and door pockets are uniform asphalt coated surfaces. Three tower components, which lodge offices and service areas, subdivide the long-spanned interior space. The hangar is surrounded by paved aprons and taxiways, and located on the northern portion of the post-1953 flight line. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Hangar 7 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Intended for the servicing and maintenance of medium bomber aircrafts, Hangar 7 is directly associated with the original function of the Goose Bay base as part of the Strategic Air Command network, established to deter a Soviet attack on North America. As such, it constitutes a very good example of the theme of joint Canadian and American defence initiatives of North America during the Cold War. Hangar 7 was erected as one of the final components of the post 1953 build-up of the base and of its master plan and brought Goose Bay Base to its full functional capacity, making it a very good example of its Cold War development.
Built according to a United States War Department design, adapted by the engineering firm of Fay, Spofford and Thorndike, the building was intended first and foremost to serve specific functional requirements. Nevertheless, in displaying a modern abstract design, Hangar 7 also constitutes a good example of austere modern aesthetics applied to a standard functional type. On the interior, the requirement for a large open space was achieved through the use of a remarkable and complex double cantilevered steel structure. Durable high quality materials, as well as careful craftsmanship succeeded in making it a very sturdy permanent structure, capable of withstanding the harsh Labrador climate.
Prominent both by its size and location, Hangar 7 is compatible with the military character of the air base setting, composed of sparsely placed clusters of large structures on flat terrain, and represents a familiar landmark to the community of the base. The building’s open relationship to the apron and taxiways, as well as to the identical neighbouring Hangar 8, have remained essentially unchanged.
Sources: Robert J. Burns, Heritage Research Associates, Inc., Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 98-134; Hangar 7, CFB Goose Bay, Labrador, Heritage Character Statement 98-134.
The character-defining elements of Hangar 7 should be respected.
Its modern abstract aesthetics, very good functional design and high-quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
- the balanced proportions and modern abstract design of the exterior, displaying well articulated contrasts in the colours of the exterior finishes, with its light toned doors and steel buttresses, black lateral walls and door pockets;
- the high sliding interlocking doors, punctuated by two horizontal bands of windows, which express the hangar’s function;
- the elaborate building structure, composed of a steel truss system reaching 110 metres (360 feet) in span, supported by two lines of steel columns and three work-area structures;
- the use of high-quality durable materials and assemblies, such as the exterior asphalt-coated galvanized steel cladding.
The building’s compatibility with the military character of the Goose Bay airfield, open relationship to the site and role as a familiar landmark within the base as evidenced by:
- Hangar 7’s strong visual presence, a result of both its monumental size and location on the northern portion of the flight line, surrounded by large open expanses of the paved aprons and taxiways;
- the hangar’s physical design, and the large expanse of its doors, which help define the operational nature of the area;
- the building’s resemblance to the neighbouring Hangar 8, which reinforces their visual presence.