Description of Historic Place
The freestanding North Field Tower at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary overlooks the main entrance and the agricultural fields to the north of the prison. The brick and concrete octagonal structure stands 8.5 metres high and is topped by an overhanging lookout, guardhouse and conical roof. The tower has classical tripartite column division of base, body, and capital. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The North Field Tower is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The North Field Tower, as an integral part of Saskatchewan Penitentiary, is associated with the response to the establishment of labour programs and security at federal penal institutions in the early 20th century. The tower was constructed to allow the supervision of inmates working in the agricultural fields north of the prison.
The North Field Tower is valued for its very good aesthetic design, and is a good example of a modern architectural interpretation of the traditional defensive tower. The structure’s good design meets the simple, functional requirements very well and provides effective surveillance of the north fields and the entrance area. The use of white painted concrete and brick is similar to the adjacent prison wall. The octagonal concrete column design exhibits very good quality craftsmanship and materials as evidenced in the brickwork and the moulded concrete corbelling.
The North Field Tower is compatible with the institutional character of Saskatchewan Penitentiary and is a familiar landmark to inmates, guards and to visitors.
Dana Johnson, Saskatchewan Penitentiary, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 89-036.
North Field Tower, Penitentiary Building, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Heritage Character Statement 89-036.
The character-defining elements of the North Field Tower should be respected, for example:
Its aesthetics influenced by classicism and traditional defensive architecture, its very good functional design and very good and craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- The simple form and massing of the freestanding, octagonal structure.
- The overhanging walkway, recessed guardhouse and surrounding open lookout protected by a projecting, octagonal roof.
- The concrete shaft, clad in recessed panels of brick, which corbel outward to become flush at the upper windows.
- The multi-paned windows in the shaft and guard hut.
- The buttressed concrete base with blind arcading, and the decorative corbelling beneath the lookout.
- The original layout, with central spiral stair and upper guard, hut that is typical of a guard tower.
The manner in which the North Field Tower is compatible with the institutional setting at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary and is a well-known landmark within the region, as evidenced by:
- Its concrete and brick construction that is compatible with the structures in the institutional complex.
- Its visual prominence which make it a landmark for a complex largely unseen by the general public.
- Its conspicuous identity within the region with regard to its distinctive form, identifiable function and public exposure.