Description of Historic Place
The Central Heating Plant, also known as Building 13, is a balanced and sophisticated composition of several interlocking volumes of varying heights and sizes, mostly opaque but also highlighted by the expressive treatment of a range of openings, and crowned with two simple yet distinctive towers. Providing heating and cooling to all buildings at Tunney’s Pasture, it is located on an open lot along a secondary street, next to several buildings of the initial development phase of the campus. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Central Heating Plant is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Central Heating Plant was erected to provide heating and cooling to all future federal facilities at Tunney’s Pasture and preceded the construction of all other buildings on the campus.
Designed by the well-known Montréal firm of Ross, Patterson, Townsend & Heughan, the Central Heating Plant is a very good example of a utility building designed in the International Style. Its form clearly expresses its function, but exceeds a purely utilitarian character through an elegant play of interconnected rectilinear shapes, strong horizontal lines and intersecting planes. Very functional and adaptable, as demonstrated by the several additions harmoniously integrated into the building, the Central Heating Plant was constructed with standard durable materials and assembled with good craftsmanship
The Central Heating Plant is located on a secondary street away from Tunney’s Pasture main axis, Holland Avenue. It was the first building erected on the campus and helped define the character of its initial phase of development, along with buildings such as the Finance Building, Standard Lab Buildings and Statistics Canada Building located nearby. The Central Heating Plant was extended a number of times, but its relationship to the lawns on its two most public façades and to its paved parking and loading zones at the back remains largely intact and in keeping with the utilitarian character of the building.
Sources: Geneviève Charrois & Catherine Cournoyer, Ten Buildings - Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Review Office Building Report 04-050-058, 062; 13/ Central Heating Plant, Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 04-054.
The character-defining elements of the Central Heating Plant should be respected.
Its aesthetic expression as a utility building designed in the International Style, as illustrated in:
- its harmonious massing and composition made of several interlocking volumes of varying heights and sizes, enhancing both horizontal and vertical lines;
- its distinctive profile with two towers rising from the building, with their summits enhanced by a narrow continuous band of windows running on three façades just below the parapet;
- its sophisticated and well-balanced play of plain solid buff-coloured brick walls with openings of various sizes and groupings, framed with stone lintels and brackets;
- its simple yet elegant main entrance, highlighted by a small flat overhanging canopy and a wall-mounted bronze lamp, contrasting with the large industrial doors of the two more functional secondary façades;
- its consistency with the characteristics of the buildings that followed during the initial phase of development of Tunney’s Pasture, such as scale, materials and restrained International Style.
Its very functional and adaptable design, as demonstrated in:
- its continuing use as a heating and cooling plant;
- the several extensions made over the years to accommodate growing needs and various technological advances;
- its generously lit open spaces served by large industrial doors.
Its use of standard durable materials assembled with good craftsmanship, as illustrated in:
- its brick facing, stone mouldings around the openings, and structure made of concrete slabs and blocks.
Its compatibility with the now heterogeneous character of Tunney’s Pasture, and role as a familiar yet secondary landmark for the community of civil servants working on the campus, as evidenced in:
- its scale, materials, and style, along with lawns on its two most public façades and paved parking and loading zones at the back.