The Lorraine Apartment
Links and documents
1912/01/01 to 1913/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Lorraine Block is an early twentieth-century, four-storey apartment building situated on three and one-half blocks in Calgary's Victoria Park district. The red brick building features a three-storey portico, triangular parapet, and a terra cotta frieze containing the words, "THE LORRAINE". It is also extensively embellished with brick patterning and terra cotta detailing.
The heritage value of the Lorraine Block lies in its elegant architecture and its association with the pre-First World War housing boom in Calgary.
Designed by local architect James C. Teague in 1912 and completed one year later, the Lorraine Block is a striking architectural composition, marrying rough-faced local brick with stylistic elements derived from the European Beaux-Arts style. Much of the building's distinctive character is shaped by the builders' use of Tregillus 300-Rough bricks, a high quality local product of unusual and unique texture and colouration. The Beaux-Arts style, an eclectic system of design bringing together Classical, Renaissance, and Baroque influences, is evident in the building's symmetrically massed facade, prominent central portico, and pedimented parapet, as well as extensive rough-faced brick and terra cotta detailing. The juxtaposition of rough-faced brick with these sophisticated stylistic elements imparts to the building its robust charm. When initially constructed, the Lorraine Block also featured a luxurious interior finished in Circassian walnut. Situated in close proximity to other prominent historic residences in the district, the architecture of the Lorraine Block evokes the sense of confidence and refined aesthetic tastes of the city's emergent community of middle-class professionals and businessmen in the pre-First World War period. Though the interior of the building was largely destroyed by a fire in 1998, the exterior retains much of its integrity and original appeal.
Founded in 1883, Calgary grew rapidly and was incorporated as a city only a decade after its establishment. In 1893, the same year it was incorporated, the boundaries of the community were extended to include what was to become the Connaught-Beltline district of the city. This district would become a hub for civic luminaries, hosting the palatial residences of men like James Lougheed, Pat Burns, Isaac Kerr, and William Roper Hull. It also contained within its boundaries the Ranchmen's Club and Memorial Park Library - the first public library in Alberta. During the city's housing boom prior to the First World War, several fashionable apartment blocks were constructed in the Connaught-Beltline district to house the city's burgeoning professional and business class. The site on which the Lorraine Block sits was purchased by Dr. Omer Patrick and his brother-in-law John Adams from Lougheed in 1912. Completed at the height of the building boom in 1913, the building offered just over 30 suites at prices ranging from $55 to $65 per month. Plans for an additional luxury apartment building to be built beside the Lorraine were scrapped with the collapse of the housing boom on the eve of war. In its early years, the apartment was home to a number of esteemed local citizens, including Calgary's mayor, Robert C. Marshall, and Dr. Omer Patrick himself, who was a successful businessman, a federal election campaign manager for R. B. Bennett, and a driving force behind the creation of the Calgary Zoological Society and the development of the Calgary zoo.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2091)
The character-defining elements of the Lorraine Block include such features as:
- location in Calgary's Victoria Park district;
- robust massing,
- four-storey scale;
- use of Tregillus 300-rough red bricks on south, east, and west elevations;
- three storey brick portico featuring enclosed sun rooms on the second and third floors and an open balcony on the upper level;
- extensive brick patterning and terra cotta trim, arches, busts, medallions and other decorative features;
- horizontal band of terra cotta above ground floor, terra cotta frieze containing building name and flanked by terra cotta medallions, and terra cotta cornices;
- parapet with triangular central section;
- fenestration pattern, including recessed bay windows;
- original entrance foyer with marble panelling and tile floor.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 2091)
Cross-Reference to Collection