Description of Historic Place
Located in the busy market area of Ottawa, the Office Building is a four-storey, three-bay stone building of solid appearance with a richly decorated principal façade. Monumental pilasters rise through all four storeys creating a grid-like definition. A central, double entrance and large, round-headed, arched openings distinguish the ground floor. Contrasting smooth and rock-faced stonework, regularly placed windows and a heavy cornice contribute towards a rich, eclectic design. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Office Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Office Building is a very good example of a building associated with the commercial development of Ottawa in the early 20th century. It reflects the development of retail trade from basic goods to the more diverse and specialized demands of increasingly sophisticated consumers. The building was constructed for the Ottawa Wine Vault Company Limited. In 1917, the federal government purchased the building and used it to provide accommodation for a variety of departments until it was transferred to the National Capital Commission in 1972. The Ottawa School of Art now occupies the building.
The Office Building is valued for its very good aesthetics. The building is an uncommon example of an early 20th century structure that is richly textured with an eclectic blend of classically inspired features, and reflects the late Victorian delight in rich pattern. Very good functional design is evidenced in the versatility displayed throughout its working history. Very good craftsmanship is evidenced in the stonework.
The Office Building reinforces the historic/commercial character of the Byward Market area in Ottawa and is a familiar landmark to local residents, people working in the vicinity and pedestrians.
Sources: Kate MacFarlane, 35 – 37 George Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 88-029; 35 -37 George Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-029.
The following character-defining elements of the Office Building should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic, its functional design and craftsmanship, for example:
-the four-storey, flat-roofed massing and the symmetrical façade;
-the load-bearing masonry walls, the cast iron columns, iron ‘I’ beams and the heavy timber joists;
-the ground floor, central double entrance set within one of the large, round-headed, arched openings and the regularly placed window openings;
-the extensive decorative elements of the principal façade that include monumental pilasters, arched and rectangular windows, contrasting smooth and rough-faced stonework and a heavy projecting cornice;
-the plain stonework of the sidewalls.
The manner in which the Office Building reinforces the historic/commercial character of the Byward Market area of Lower Town Ottawa, and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-its scale, design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship with the surrounding block of buildings and complement the streetscape and turn-of-the-century character of the market area;
-its familiarity to visitors, passing pedestrians, and local residents owing to the building’s weighty appearance, and its function as an art school