Description of Historic Place
The Horticulture Building, also known as Building 55, is located on the driveway at the Central Experimental Farm, National Historic Site of Canada, in Ottawa. The two-storey, hipped roof building is distinguished by its main façade, which is designed in the Tudor Revival style. Its principal features are a projecting second storey with mock half-timbering, and a central frontispiece consisting of an arched entrance surmounted by a half-timbered gable. To the rear is a long, stucco-clad wing topped by a mansard roof with multiple dormers. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Horticulture Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Horticulture Building is associated with Canada’s experimental farm system and illustrates the role of research; which, along with education, formed the major functions of the system. The construction of the building coincided with the directorship of Dr. E.S. Archibald who promoted a systematic and specialized approach to research. The building was the working home of one of Canada’s pioneering horticulturalists, Malcolm Bancroft Davis whose early work regarding fruit and vegetable storage led to some of the early developments in the frozen-food industry, and vegetable dehydration and packaging. Davis was one of five founding members of the Agricultural Institute of Canada in 1920 and assisted in the formation of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science in 1956. In 1980, he was nationally recognized in the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. The building also represents a period of urban growth in Ottawa, as federal facilities expanded during the depression years. Its enlargement was part of the physical evolution of the farm, in a conscious movement towards a modern, scientific approach to agricultural and horticultural research.
The Horticulture Building is valued for its very good aesthetic design, which is a hybrid of Queen Anne and Tudor Revival styles. Its front block, built in 1930 with mock half-timbering, stone-arched entrance and projecting central gabled bay, best exemplifies the aesthetics of the then-popular architectural revival styles. The good functional design of the interior includes offices, workrooms and laboratories. Good quality craftsmanship and materials are evidenced in the finish materials and detailing, such as the brickwork, stone details, mock half-timbering, stucco walls and mansard roof. They are an intrinsic part of the Queen Anne and Tudor Revival design.
The Horticulture Building is compatible with the picturesque character of its experimental farm setting and is a familiar building within the immediate area.
Sources: Kate MacFarlane, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 96-134. Horticulture Building, Building #55, Central Experimental Farm. Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 96-134.
The following character-defining elements of the Horticulture Building should be respected.
Its good combination of Queen Anne and Tudor Revival styles, good functional design and good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-storey massing, which consists of a front block topped by a hipped roof with shed dormers and a long, rear wing topped by a mansard roof with multiple dormers;
- the symmetrically arranged front façade with a centrally placed main entrance under a stone arch and a projecting central bay with a gable roof which punctuates the main roofline;
- the high stone basement, brick-clad first storey, and projecting second storey finished to imitate half-timbering with stucco infill;
- the rear wing with stucco walls and irregularly spaced windows and dormers.
- the interior mix of offices, workrooms and laboratories.
The manner in which the Horticulture Building is compatible with the picturesque character of its experimental farm setting and is a familiar landmark in the immediate area, as evidenced by:
- its Queen Anne and Tudor Revival styles and materials, which complement neighbouring structures;
- its relationship with neighbouring structures such as the Storage Building (Building 56), and the Dairy Technology Annex (Building 57);
- its visible and prominent location on the driveway and its role as a component of the larger farm complex, both of which make it familiar to visitors and employees.