Description of Historic Place
The H-shaped Forintek Building is set back from a broad thoroughfare on large, landscaped, campus-like grounds. It is a horizontal, classically ordered composition, in which a long, low office block is linked by a two-floor element to a much larger four-storey laboratory block. The upper two floors are set back from the uninterrupted cornice. Plain brick walls feature regularly spaced, recessed, multi-paned sash windows and discreet stone trim. The entrance is a cut stone colonnade two storeys high with a coat of arms over the door. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Forintek Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Forintek Building is associated with forest products research in Canada, and was designed for the Forest Products Laboratories of the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources. Its role was key in applied research for more efficient utilizations of wood and the reduction of waste. It served as the national headquarters of the Forest Products Laboratories and, after 1979, it served as the Eastern Office of Forintek, Canada’s Wood Products Research Institute, a private non-profit wood products research and development corporation. The facility was a leading research centre for the valuable Canadian forest products industries.
The Forintek Building is valued for its good aesthetic design. It is a classically ordered composition with Georgian Revival elements. Almost without ornament, the solid brick exterior walls have a streamlined appearance that gives the building a distinguished, formal aspect. Good functional design is evidenced in the separation of administrative and research functions. Very good workmanship is demonstrated in the Flemish bond brickwork of the exterior walls, the wood panelling and the bronzework of the interior.
The Forintek Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the campus character of the research complex and is a familiar landmark to local residents, and to people working in the vicinity.
Edgar Tumak, Forintek Building, 800 Montreal Road Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 96-097
The Forintek Building, 800 Montreal Road Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 96-097
The following character-defining elements of the Forintek Building should be respected, for example:
Its good aesthetic, its good functional design and very good craftsmanship, for example:
-The low massed "H" shaped composition, with long low rectangular office block linked by a two-floor element to a larger four-storey, rectangular laboratory block, and the flat roof.
-The step-back of the upper two floors of the four-storey block.
-The repetitive door and window elements with multi-paned detailing and the finely crafted wood double-hung window assemblies.
-The Flemish Bond brickwork of the exterior walls and the carefully worked cut limestone trim and colonnade entrance, the cut-stone coping, string course, and water table course.
-The interior’s Beaux-Arts pattern of circulation (axial, double loaded corridors).
-The decorative program selected for the corridor and lobby areas on the ground, basement and second floors of the administrative wing (varnished wood trim, birch panelling, terrazzo flooring, travertine marble base and plaster ceilings).
-The decorative program chosen for the offices and common spaces of the same wing particularly the wood panelling or plaster walls, varnished wood trim and plaster ceilings, the curving stair in the main lobby (painted steel stringers, travertine marble treads, and bronze hand railing), and the original lighting fixtures.
The manner in which the Forintek Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and reinforces the present character of its campus-like setting, and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-Its ongoing relationship to its open, campus-like site with grassed areas, low plantings and walkways.
-Its massing, materials and details that maintain a visual and physical relationship with the campus-like landscape, and with adjacent buildings on Montreal Road.
-Its familiarity to those working at the facility, to visitors and to those travelling on Montreal Road.