Description of Historic Place
The 1912 Rothesay Apartments, a three-storey brick structure, overlooks a public park from a conspicuous corner site in a west Winnipeg neighbourhood comprised mostly of single-family dwellings. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the main foyer, including miniature wall paintings.
The impressive Rothesay Apartments, with its eye-catching front facade and spacious interior arrangement, represents the height of apartment block development in Winnipeg's West End in the early twentieth century. Designed by H.E. Matthews, the building displays fine exterior classical detailing met on the inside by high-quality finishes and craftsmanship. The Rothesay also reflects several design imperatives from its era, including the use of fireproof construction materials and an 'H'-shaped plan with numerous indentations, external stairways and balcony sunrooms to maximize natural lighting and ventilation. Little changed over the years, the structure retains most of its original materials and design features and remains a vibrant block that contributes to the existing character of its neighbourhood.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Meeting Minute, March 25, 1991
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Rothesay Apartments site include:
- the building's placement at southeast Home Street and Preston Avenue, facing onto Vimy Ridge Park
Key elements that define the building's impressive, classically detailed exterior include:
- the substantial, nearly square form, three storeys in height on a raised stone foundation, with load-bearing brick walls and a flat roof
- the symmetrical massing, based on an 'H'-shaped plan, with deep light wells at the front (north) and rear and more modest recesses in the side walls
- the classical composition of the primary facades, extended to portions of the south and east sides and divided vertically into three distinct levels, including a high rusticated limestone base, walls of brown brick and a full entablature, complete with a heavy modillioned sheet-metal cornice and topped by a metal-capped brick parapet
- the numerous, mostly tall rectangular single windows vertically aligned on all elevations
- the pairs of glazed and screened three-storey balconies which rise up the centres of both front wings from rusticated stone piers to brick and stone balustrades at the roofline
- the deeply recessed main entrance, its single glass and wood door surrounded by sidelights, transoms and an ashlar stone architrave with a pediment broken by an open scrolled top and an oculus at its base
- the refined details, materials and finishes, including smooth stone lug sills, a large ashlar stone belt course above the rusticated base, the use of dark brown brick to highlight corners and window heads, the decorative wooden balcony panels, the block's name in raised stone letters over the main entrance, etc.
- unpretentious features such as the wooden staircases, the sand-lime brick and concrete window sills on the south and east walls, etc.
Key elements that define the building's interior character and residential function include:
- the highly decorated front foyer with marble wainscotting and stairs, an ornamentally painted coffered ceiling, upper walls with small circular scenic paintings and a single door of leaded glass and wood surrounded by sidelights and transoms in oak casings
- the spacious interior layout of suites organized around central hallways and a central oak staircase partially lit by a skylight
- common-area finishes and details such as the central upper-hall windows that feature bevelled and stained glass, etc.
- apartment finishes and features such as oak wainscotting, woodwork and hardwood flooring, high doorways, some with transoms, etc.