Description of Historic Place
The Hope Building stands on a narrow site on the north side of Sparks Street in the core of the Ottawa business district. The tall, nine-storey structure is of steel-frame and concrete slab construction. It is distinguished by its extensive glazing. The principal façade is clad in granite and has a strong vertical emphasis. The top storey has an elaborate cap of glazed terra cotta panels. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Hope Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Hope Building is associated with the commercial development of Sparks Street westward towards Bank Street in the early 20th century, and is the first of the privately owned high-rise buildings along the north side of the street. Bookseller and stationer, James Hope erected the structure primarily as rental accommodation for lawyers, real estate agents and other professionals. The structure was a combined bookstore and office building primarily dedicated to religious publishing, as its name the “Bible House” suggests.
Valued for its very good aesthetics the Hope Building is a nine-storey steel-frame and concrete slab building. The narrowness of the lot, coupled with the building’s steel-frame construction, encouraged very good functional design and a simple treatment of the facade above the ground floor. This functional structure exhibits very good craftsmanship and materials in the entrance of mahogany with bronze fittings, the glazed terra cotta panels on the terminating storey, and in the bronze cornice topped by a terra cotta statue representing “Hope”, a Grecian allegorical female figure. It received an award of excellence for Public Works Commission’s efforts at rehabilitation in 1984.
The Hope Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site in the historic commercial core and is compatible with its central business district setting and is familiar to residents, to people working in the vicinity and pedestrians.
Dana Johnson, Nineteen Federally owned Properties - Sparks Street, Hope Building, 61-63 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 85-015; Hope Building, 61-63 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 85-015.
The character-defining elements of the Hope Building should be respected.
Its very good aesthetics, functional design, and craftsmanship and materials, for example:
-the tall, narrow massing of the nine-storey symmetrical façade;
-the steel-frame and concrete slab construction, with all other walls of brick;
-the extensive glazing and bronze spandrels of the principal façade;
-the Sparks Street elevation with mahogany and bronze entryway and ground floor storefront in bronze, plate glass and granite;
-the terminating storey with elaborate cap of English glazed terra cotta panels produced by the Doulton potteries of Leeds, England;
-the bronze cornice topped by a terra cotta statue representing “Hope”.
The manner in which the Hope Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the character of the commercial centre of its setting in downtown Ottawa and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-the building’s ongoing relationship to its streetscape and surrounding buildings;
-its design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship to adjacent structures in the commercial core of downtown Ottawa;
-its mid-block location next to the postal substation, and its height that make it a well known Sparks Street building.