Building No. 4
Research Building 4
Bâtiment de recherche, bâtiment 4
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Building No. 4, located at the French Cable Wharf, is a simple, square structure of reinforced concrete construction and classically inspired design. The building is distinguished by its simple, classical details and elaborate moulded cornice on which the words “COMPAGNIE FRANCAISE DES CABLES TELEGRAPHIQUES” are detailed in concrete. Simple openings for single-hung windows punctuate the walls. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building No. 4 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Building No. 4 is closely associated with the development of telecommunications in Canada as well as with the theme of military defence. Built by the Compagnie Francaise des Cables Télégraphiques, who were involved in the search for survivors from the Titanic in 1912, the building served as the company’s Canadian headquarters from which it coordinated ocean-going vessels to lay and repair their trans-Atlantic communication cables. As the sole surviving building on the Dartmouth shore following the famous tragedy of the 1917 Halifax harbour explosion, the building is also directly associated with the local development of the harbour when several foreign cable companies established themselves in the Halifax area. The building was subsequently recycled for use as part of the physical plant for Defence Research and Development Canada, the national authority for providing science and technology services related to the nation’s defence capabilities.
Building No. 4 is a good example of the early use of structural concrete in Canada. The reinforced concrete structure was designed with classical character and very good craftsmanship as evidenced in its simple square massing and modest ornamentation including paneled corner pilasters and a moulded cornice. The building’s good functional design, expressed in its solid construction, permitted its later accommodation of interior diving tanks and heavy equipment.
Building No. 4 reinforces the semi-industrial character of its wharf setting and is a familiar structure on the waterfront.
Shannon Ricketts, Building No. 4, Research Building, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 90-090; Building No. 4, Research Building, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 90-090.
The character-defining elements of Building No. 4 should be respected.
Its classically-inspired composition, functional design and craftsmanship, for example:
-the simple square massing with a projecting foundation base, cornice and flat roof line;
-the reinforced-concrete construction and surviving exterior surface material;
-the classical details such as the framing panelled corner pilasters, raised window trim and moulding on the cornice;
-the cornice inscription, “COMPAGNIE FRANCAISE DES CABLES TELEGRAPHIQUES.”
The manner in which Building No. 4 reinforces the character of its wharf setting and is a familiar structure on the waterfront, as evidenced by:
-its scale and solid appearance in a semi-industrial environment of compatibly scaled buildings;
-its local familiarity as a building associated with the Halifax harbour explosion and the development of telecommunications in Canada.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Military Support
- Communications Facility
Architect / Designer
Compagnie française des câbles télégraphiques
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection