Description of Historic Place
Located in Banff National Park of Canada, facing Banff Avenue, the main commercial street in Banff, the Information Building, also known as the Former Auditorium-School, is a two-storey, rectangular building with a cross-gable roof covered with shingles. Its exterior is a combination of masonry and painted half-timbering. Along the side of the building, massive fieldstone buttresses rise from the ground to the eave line. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Information Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Information Building, constructed as an auditorium used by the Banff School of Fine Arts, one of Canada’s notable cultural institutions, is a very good example illustrating the development of education and training in the arts during the 1930s. It reflects the second period of Banff’s development as a result of the federal government’s economic relief efforts in the 1930s, built through funds obtained under the Public Works Construction Act of 1934. Donald Cameron, who was the director of the Banff School of Fine Arts from 1936 to 1969, is associated with the building as he developed the school, which resulted in the construction of a greater campus.
The Information Building is a good example of a building designed in the rustic, Tudor Revival style representing a late example of this architectural theme developed for National Park buildings in Banff National Park of Canada. It provides a link in the town site with other park buildings. Design features speak to its use as a fine arts training facility. The building was the first purpose built facility to be used by the Banff School of Fine Arts for classes and performances.
Prominently located on Banff Avenue within Banff National Park of Canada, the design of the Information Building is compatible with the surrounding mountain scenery, and its scale is relatively consistent with that of the other structures in the vicinity. The building contributes to Banff’s unified architectural image by echoing the design applied to park buildings in the towns downtown core. A major interpretive center for the park, the building is well located for visitors and the institutional character of its design renders the building recognizable to the local community and to visitors as a public facility in the town site.
Sources: Sophie Drakich, Information Building (former Auditorium Building-School), Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Federal Heritage Building Report 91-106; The Information Building,(former Auditorium Building/ School), Banff, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement, 91-106.
The following character defining elements of the Information Building should be respected.
Its rustic, Tudor Revival design, construction methods and materials such as:
-its two-storey, rectangular plan with cross-gable roof;
-its Tudor Revival design elements which distinguish the building, including the substantial use of rubble-stone and half timbering with painted stucco infill and prominent gables;
-its massive stone buttresses rising from the ground to the eave line;
-its main floor, single major open space.
The manner in which the Information Building is compatible with the present character of its Banff Avenue setting.