Description of Historic Place
Brandon College (1900-01) and the adjoining Clark Hall (1905-06), comprise a 3 1/2-storey brick and stone complex overlooking Brandon's 18th Street. Their integrated facades occupy a central location on the Brandon University campus, surrounded by later-vintage facilities and linked to the library by a west addition and skywalk. The provincial designation applies to Brandon College, Clark Hall and the lot on which they sit.
Brandon College and Clark Hall are exemplary educational facilities from the early 1900s recalling the foundational role played by religious communities in developing Manitoba's post-secondary institutions. It was the Baptist Union of Western Canada which pioneered higher education in western Manitoba, leading to the establishment of Brandon College in 1899, once affiliated with Ontario's McMaster University and the University of Manitoba. The institution's first purpose-built facility, Brandon College, planned by Winnipeg architect Hugh McCowan, is an imposing Romanesque Revival edifice with a handsome tower. The attached Clark Hall, designed by Brandon architect W.A. Elliott as a women's residence, is equally well-appointed with a more subdued tower and careful use of materials creating an almost seamless match between the two buildings. The complex has remained a centre of campus life over the decades, including through the college's transformations to non-denominational status (late 1930s) and an independent university (1967). The facility also is a landmark that symbolizes the long-standing contribution of higher education to Brandon's development.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minute, May 4, 1991
Key elements defining the heritage character of the Brandon College and Clark Hall site include:
- the complex's prominent location facing east onto Brandon's busy 18th Street
- the well-groomed site seamlessly set within the larger Brandon University campus, with clusters of mature trees, grassed expanses, formal paved walkways connecting buildings
Key elements that define the complex's regal Romanesque Revival style include:
- the broad 3 1/2-storey rectangular form with high rusticated limestone foundations and complex cedar-clad hip and gable roofs punctuated by hipped dormers and pyramidal towers
- the symmetrical brick facades of the two structures appearing as one, with projecting end and centre pavilions further delineated by shallow corner pilasters
- the multiple recessed windows, basic one-over-one sashes outlined by forest green wood frames and rusticated stone sills and organized to denote building levels, namely: segmentally arched openings on the main and second levels, typically in pairs, with brick soldier-coursed arched heads and interconnected drip mouldings terminating in stringcourses; round-arched windows on the third level; and rectangular openings in the dormers, gable ends and basement
- the dominant Brandon College tower, five storeys high, square, with a pyramidal roof, flagpole and highlights such as: corner pilasters capped by small pyramidal elements; distinctive fenestration, including two levels of narrow windows arranged in threes with square and round heads and half-moon belfry openings; a smooth-cut limestone tablet with 'BRANDON COLLEGE' in raised letters; and Romanesque details, including corbelled brickwork, heavy stone sills and lintels, brick voussoirs, etc.
- the elaborate Brandon College entrance porch, with limestone stairs, double wooden doors recessed within a compound brick arch and topped by a fanlight, round-arched side windows with stone voussoirs and keystones, a bracketed cornice and a majestic arcaded brick balustrade
- Clark Hall's tower-like structure projecting from a central point in the roof, with two round-arched windows on each side, all set above an arched double-door entrance
- the fenestration grouped in banks of threes in the interstitial space connecting the two buildings
- the restrained detailing, such as the corbel tables under eaves, the simple south entrance portico, etc.
Key elements that define the buildings' dignified interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the H-shaped plan of each building, with largely intact configurations organized by a transverse corridor spanning the length of the complex and building-to-building access on each floor
- Brandon College's main-floor chapel featuring pressed tin ceilings
- the details and finishes, including wood panelled walls, wainscotting, finely carved balusters and newel posts, some heavy wood door treatments, etc.