Description of Historic Place
The Sir Leonard Tilley Building is located at the corner of Riverside Drive and Heron Road, within the boundaries of the Confederation Heights campus. This modern, five-storey building consists of an L-shaped, rectilinear brick structure set on a granite pedestal, capped with a recessed penthouse and a continuous cornice line, and featuring a conservative, partial curtain wall design. Although the entrance complex (D Wing) and C Wing are not part of the designation, there is a physical relationship to the heritage building. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Sir Leonard Tilley Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Sir Leonard Tilley Building is associated with national security through communications intelligence which originated during World War II. Built specifically to serve as the headquarters of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Sir Leonard Tilley Building was also part of the first phase of development of Confederation Heights, a new urban node of federal institutions in Ottawa.
The Sir Leonard Tilley Building is a good example of the use of a more conservative, modern architecture, and is a very good example of Jean-Serge LeFort’s work. Constructed of good quality traditional materials, the Sir Leonard Tilley Building was custom designed for use by intelligence services. The building’s exterior elevations conceal specialized features linked to intelligence gathering such as the design of “slippers” beneath the floor plates and the electrical and mechanical systems.
The Sir Leonard Tilley Building is located on a triangular parcel of land situated at the corner of Riverside Drive and Heron Road, and its strong presence in the area reinforces the urban character of the campus-like setting of Confederation Heights. The Sir Leonard Tilley Building is well known to the intelligence community as “The Farm,” and is a recognizable landmark to the residents of Confederation Heights and to the employees of the CSE and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
Sources: Geneviève Charrois, Sir Leonard Tilley Building, Confederation Heights, Ottawa, Ontario. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 01-048.; Sir Leonard Tilley Building, Confederation Heights, Ottawa, Ontario. Heritage Character Statement 01-048.
The following character-defining elements of the Sir Leonard Tilley Building should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of national security through communications intelligence is reflected in:
-the functional design of the building, in particular the specialized features linked to intelligence gathering.
Its modern aesthetic, specialized functional design, good quality materials and competent craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the building’s impressive scale and horizontal massing which consists of simple rectilinear volumes in an L-shaped configuration;
-the continuous cornice line, projecting stone window surrounds, and granite pedestal which emphasize the horizontality of the composition; balanced by,
-the verticality of the brick columns and large, curtain wall panels;
-the building’s more conservative, modern architectural vocabulary as illustrated by the brick columns, and the framed curtain wall panels;
-the specialized features such as the design of “slippers” beneath the floor plates to accommodate computer installations and the design of the electrical and mechanical systems;
-the use of traditional materials for the exterior elevations such as the granite-clad base, the brick walls and columns, the limestone lintels, cornice and window surrounds, in particular the Riverside Drive façade which has retained its integrity;
-the use of marble wall panels and terrazzo marble flooring in the lobby.
The manner in which the building reinforces the urban character of the campus-like setting of Confederation Heights as evidenced in:
-the strong presence of the building’s public elevations which face Riverside Drive and Heron Road;
-its materials, massing and setbacks which are consistent with other buildings in the area from 1955-1964, such as the Sir Charles Tupper Building and the Edward Drake Building;
-its visual prominence owing to its scale and relationship to the open, park-like landscape of the area as well as its location at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Heron Road.