HERITAGE HALL OF THE SOUTHERN ALBERTA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Heritage Hall (Old Main Bldg.) SAIT
Links and documents
1921/01/01 to 1922/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Heritage Hall of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is a three-storey steel and concrete building. Built between1921 and 1922, it is constructed in the Collegiate Gothic style and features a symmetrical red-brick and sandstone facade, twin four storey square towers, parapets and a distinctive fenestration pattern. Originally known as the Provincial Institute of Technology Building and Normal School, it was rechristened Heritage Hall in 1985. It is located on the main campus of Calgary's Southern Alberta Institute of Technology at 1301-16 Avenue NW.
The heritage value of the Heritage Hall of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology lies in the integral role it played in the development of post-secondary institutions in Alberta and Canada. It also has significant architectural value as an excellent example of the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture.
The historical importance of Heritage Hall of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology lies in its association with the establishment of educational institutions in Alberta, particularly the advent of high level technical training. The building originally accommodated the Alberta Normal School, created for the training of teachers, and the Provincial Institute of Technology, established largely to retrain veterans of the First World War and assist in their reintegration into peacetime society. Alberta was one of the first provinces to recognize the need for specialized technical training; this building thus represents a pioneering effort in the establishment of institutionalized technical training. The technical institute expanded rapidly by adding new programs and courses, notably an art school in 1929 and aeronautical engineering courses - the first in Canada - in 1934. The Great Depression caused a decline in enrolments for the institute. During the Second World War, the building was taken over by the federal government and was used as No. 2 Wireless Training School to train airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Program. After the end of the war, the technical institute returned to the building and enrolment increased dramatically. Also at this time, the building was occupied by the University of Alberta at Calgary, the forerunner of the University of Calgary. The institute was rechristened the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 1960.
Heritage Hall of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology was designed by Provincial Architect, Richard Palin Blakey, and was built between 1921 and 1922. It was purposely situated on Calgary's North Hill in order to maximise both the building's visibility in the city and the view of the city from the building. Heritage Hall is divided into three major sections: a central block flanked by two towers, and two wings. It was designed in the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture, which was used frequently on North American campuses because it effectively associated these institutions with the educational traditions of the established European universities. It is an excellent example of this style and it is the only building of this style in the city of Calgary. The building's exterior design elements that reflect this style are its robust construction, twin square towers with crenellated parapets, pinnacles at each corner and interlocking gothic arches; and a Tudor arch over the front doors. The interior embodies this sensibility in an auditorium based on a baronial hall with minstrel gallery and gothic-arched windows. The exterior and interior features of the building are well preserved and the building retains a coherent and stately appearance.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1051)
Key elements that define the Heritage Hall of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's heritage value include:
- fenestration pattern;
- distinctive pattern of red brick and sandstone;
- elements of its design that reflect Collegiate Gothic architecture, including robust construction, twin square towers with crenellated parapets, pinnacles, parapets, interlocking gothic arches, a Tudor arch over the front doors, and auditorium based on a baronial hall with minstrel gallery and gothic-arched windows;
- symmetry of facades;
- highly detailed gothic decorative stone workings throughout the building;
- its interior features, the terrazzo flooring, oak doors, solid maple banisters and medieval style auditorium.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Post-Secondary Institution
Architect / Designer
Richard Palin Blakey
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. 1051)
Cross-Reference to Collection