Description of Historic Place
Set on a landscaped open site, the Administration Building in Ottawa is part of a cohesive complex of offices and laboratories on Booth Street. The Administration Building for Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), is an L-shaped modern design with a brick veneer exterior. Simple, intersecting geometric volumes, broad expanses of wall and an absence of decorative elements characterize the building’s glazed surfaces. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Administration Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Administration Building is a very good example of a structure associated with the post-Second World War acceleration of mineral exploration and ore testing by the federal government. It also reflects the significant role of NRCan in the exploration and mapping of Canada and in the development of the mining sector. The building was designed to accommodate the administrative functions of the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys during a period of tremendous expansion.
Valued for its good aesthetics, the Administration Building is an example of the International Style of architecture, which promoted clean lines, legible structure, asymmetrical balance in composition and a building form that expresses internal function. This style was widely used by the federal government during the period of post-war expansion. Good craftsmanship is evident in the quality of construction and interior finishes that reflect the characteristic high quality, sleek, polished, hard-surfaced materials of this style of architecture.
The Administration Building reinforces its landscaped, campus-like setting and is a well-known local landmark.
Sources: Joan Mattie, Administration Building, Natural Resources Canada, 588 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 97-083; Administration Building, 588 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 97-083.
The character-defining elements of the Administration Building should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, good functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the asymmetrical, L-shaped massing with intersecting volumes and flat roofs;
- the steel frame construction, with broad expanses of exterior brick veneer;
- the asymmetrical balance of its intersecting wings, and the setback of the ground floor of the Booth Street façade behind dark granite columns;
- the entrance and elevator block, the tallest volume of the building, that is situated at the intersection of the ‘L’ and features a glass wall;
- the horizontal emphasis of the contrasting cut stone window sills and the cornice capping, and the long horizontal bands of windows with aluminium frames;
- the interior finishes and materials including, the terrazzo for hallways and stairs, the marble walls and floor in the main lobby, and the polished stainless steel for the entrance and elevator doors and stairwell railings.
The manner in which the Administration Building reinforces its open park-like setting and is a prominent local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its massing, materials and design that harmonizes with the buildings at the NRCan complex and the adjacent properties;
- its visibility and familiarity given its prominent location on Carling Avenue and Booth Street and its use as federal offices.