Description of Historic Place
The Gault Building, a large masonry warehouse erected in 1900 and expanded in 1903, dominates the corner of three streets in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District in close proximity to other large warehouses. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the six-storey structure on its footprint.
The Gault Building is a good example of a Richardsonian Romanesque-style warehouse at a key intersection in Winnipeg's Exchange District, a national historic site. The substantial masonry structure, designed by George Browne to accommodate the western expansion of Montreal dry goods wholesaler A.F. Gault and Co., was among the first large warehouses built in response to Winnipeg's rise as a regional distribution centre. Increased business due to an immigration boom soon prompted the firm to expand its premises upward by two floors and to the south with a six-storey annex. These additions, planned by J.H. Cadham, sympathetically continued the style, materials and order established by Browne. The resulting landmark, which, with the annex, fills nearly half a city block, physically anchors three important streetscapes and functionally retains a prominent role as a rehabilitated arts centre containing studios, galleries, offices and a theatre.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Meeting Minutes, December 6, 1982
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Gault Building site include:
- the building's dominant location at the intersection of Bannatyne Avenue and Arthur and King streets, presenting finished facades to all three and overlooking Market Square
- its virtually seamless connection with the Gault Annex, giving the impression of one large building and adding to the overall mass and dominance in its setting
- its relationship with other buildings in the same block having compatible height, mass and form, with walls immediately next to adjacent structures and flush to the sidewalks, creating a continuous built edge
Key elements that define the building's Richardsonian Romanesque warehouse exterior include:
- the massive rectangular box-like shape, six-storey height and flat roof
- the heavy masonry construction of buff-coloured brick over wood posts and beams on a raised foundation faced with large rusticated limestone blocks to the sills of the second storey
- the horizontal ordering of the three principal facades, expressed through distinctive materials and ornamentation, the symmetrical arrangement of multiple windows and banding elements such as the continuous rusticated stone sills on the second, fourth and fifth storeys, the corbelled brick and stone cornice and the stone-capped parapet
- the number, variety, size and treatment of windows, including equally spaced rows of large flat-headed basement and ground-floor openings, repetitive vertical bays of second- and third-storey windows topped by Roman-influenced arches, and bays of rectangular upper-storey windows
- the high round arches denoting recessed entrances at the northwest and northeast corners
- modest features and details such as sash windows in plain wooden surrounds, rusticated stone sills, lintels and interconnected hood-moulding, corbelled brickwork, etc.
- the irregularly spaced loading docks along the south side
Key elements that define the building's interior heritage character include:
- the ceiling heights which reduce from the ground floor up and the practical materials and finishes, including maple and fir flooring, metal ceiling tiles, etc.