Description of Historic Place
Building 401 is located within the self-contained community of Pleasantville on the north shore of Quidi Vidi Lake. It is a long, two-storey, flat-roofed, rectangular apartment building with aluminium siding exterior and exhibiting low, horizontal massing. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 401 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Building 401, as part of the former United States military base of Fort Pepperrell, is closely associated with the Second World War perimeter defence plan. This plan called for strategic continental outposts such as Newfoundland and Jamaica to be armed and fortified to prevent an attack on the United States. The base was vacated by the United States in the 1950s and is now owned by the Canadian government.
Designed for the housing of troops, Building 401 is a very good example of a wartime wood and frame permanent structure that was conceived to be highly functional in design and construction. As a four-unit model the simple rectangular shapes and plain aesthetic elements are characteristic of the modern style. Integral to the complex, the structure’s architectural significance lies in its contribution to the overall visual unity of this cohesive group of modernistic buildings.
Building 401 maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and the adjacent structures. It also reinforces the 1940s character of the military base setting and is familiar to those living and working on the base.
Sources: Julie Harris, Pleasantville Site (41 Buildings) St. John’s, Newfoundland, Federal Heritage Building Report 86-016; Buildings 301 to 306, 308 to 314, and 806 / Buildings 401 to 410, 507 to 509, 511 and 512, Pleasantville, St John’s Newfoundland, Heritage Character Statement 86-016.
The following character-defining elements of the Building 401 should be respected.
Its modern design and good quality materials and workmanship, for example:
- the scale and low massing of the long, rectangular structure;
- the flat roofs outlined by simple, extended eaves;
- the projecting wings and stairwell blocks and each entrance emphasized by a concrete block canopy;
- the highly functional interior divided into four, four bedroom units;
- the exterior walls covered in white painted aluminium siding and the size, form and spacing of the door and window openings.
The manner in which Building 401 maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the military character of Pleasantville and is familiar to those living and working on the base as evidenced by:
- its ongoing relationship to its open site and complex of buildings located within a suburban neighbourhood;
- the modern plain aesthetic of the utilitarian structure, which harmonizes with the cohesive grouping of the buildings, and creates a strong visual unity on the base;
- its function as an apartment building that makes it a familiar point of reference.