Description of Historic Place
Building J-3 consists of a solid and monumental three-storey, flat-roofed red brick building influenced by the Modern Classicist aesthetic. Comprised of a symmetrical, C-shaped footprint with wings extending to the east and west from the “C” and a central entrance crowned by a one-storey pavilion, Building J-3 features large windows, continuous concrete sills and lintels, and a lack of surface ornamentation. Built to serve as Base headquarters for the Western Command and 742 Squadron, Building J-3 is located on the southern perimeter of the base facing onto 137A Avenue. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building J-3 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:
Building J-3 is associated with the national historic theme of the post-World War II expansion of the Canadian Armed Forces in order to meet its commitments to international military preparedness under the Charter of the United Nations and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) agreements. Constructed during the latter stages of the establishment of the base, Building J-3 served as Headquarters for the Army Western Command, which provided a Western administrative focal point for the Canadian Army. Individuals working in this building had command and control responsibilities extending from Vancouver Island in the west to the Ontario border in the east.
Solid and monumental, Building J-3 is a good example of a military building influenced by the Modern Classicist aesthetic. A variation of a standard plan, the building was designed to accommodate a simple functional layout and demonstrates a competent level of craftsmanship and good quality materials.
Building J-3 is set in an open area and is compatible with the heterogeneous stock of buildings facing south onto 137A Avenue, the perimeter road for the base. Located on the southern perimeter of the base, at the head of the Southwest Administration sector of the Griesbach Barracks along with several other administrative and support functions, Building J-3 is a large and prominent building and is well recognized within the neighbourhood.
Michel Pelletier, Building J-3 (Headquarters, Army Western Command), Griesbach Barracks, CFB Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 00-014.
Building J-3 (Army Western Command), Griesbach Barracks, CFB Edmonton, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 00-014.
The following character-defining elements of Building J-3 should be respected, for example:
Its role as an illustration of the the post-World War II build-up of Canada’s Armed Forces to meet its commitments to international military preparedness (UN and NORAD) is reflected in:
- the use of a simple, functional, standard design as an efficient and cost effective means of accommodating the rapid growth of the military.
Its Modern Classicist aesthetic, its competent craftsmanship and good quality materials as manifested in:
- the scale and symmetrical composition of the building characterized by the verticality of the central entrance crowned by a one-storey pavilion and by the horizontality of the east and west wings;
- the building’s modern, unadorned brick exterior whose sense of scale and horizontality is emphasized by the entrance pavilion’s protruding cornice and the large windows which are grouped and framed by continuous concrete sills and lintels to create a horizontal banding effect on the first and second floors;
- the vertical composition of the central entrance which features a flat-roofed portico, horizontal bands of windows, smooth stone cladding and which is framed by protruding vertical concrete walls; and,
- the exterior expression of the staircases at the end of the east and west wings through the use of concrete frames around the windows.
The manner in which it reinforces the military character of the setting as evidenced in:
- its prominent location facing south towards the base’s perimeter road and onto its own access road;
- the retention of its open relationship with the site and the original configuration of the landscaped areas, sidewalks and parking areas; and,
- its compatibility with the other buildings which form the Southwest Administration sector and also face onto 137A Avenue such as the Officers’ Mess (J-4) to the west, and the Social Centre (J-2) to the east.