Description of Historic Place
Building 508 is located within the self-contained community of Pleasantville on the north shore of Quidi Vidi Lake. It is a long, one-storey, flat roofed, rectangular structure with low, horizontal massing, and white painted exterior. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 508 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Building 508, 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 now owned by the Canadian government.
Designed for the housing of troops and their families, Building 508 is a very good example of a wartime wood and steel framed permanent structure that was conceived to be highly functional in design and construction. This four-unit apartment building is very similar in design to the other permanent apartment buildings and amongst the largest erected on the base. 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 508 maintains an unchanged relationship to its location and reinforces the 1940s character of the military base setting. It is familiar to those living and working in the area.
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 508 should be respected.
Its modern design and good quality materials and workmanship, for example:
- the aesthetic characteristics which link it to the modern style, including the long, low profile of the building, the absence of applied ornamentation, the flat roof and the regular fenestration;
- the highly functional interior divided into four, four bedroom units;
- the white painted cladding on the exterior.
The manner in which Building 508 maintains an unchanged relationship to its open 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 visible location and its function as an apartment building which make it a familiar point of reference.
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection