Description of Historic Place
The Princeton Apartments, built in 1909 of reinforced concrete and brick, is a five-storey residential structure on the south side of downtown Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
The Princeton Apartments, one of the costliest blocks developed during Winnipeg's pre-1914 growth period, is a building of exceptional design and construction qualities on a prime site in proximity to various downtown amenities. Its W-shaped plan, intended to maximize available natural light and ventilation, and dignified Beaux-Arts Classical styling are rare among the city's historic apartment blocks. The building also is an early residential example of fire-resistant reinforced concrete construction. These features, as combined by architect W.W. Blair, have resulted in a block that exhibits artistic excellence in composition and details as well as high standards of comfort and safety, all which have sustained the Princeton in its original role for more nearly a century.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Minutes, March 17, 1997
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Princeton Apartments site include:
- the location between Hargrave and Donald streets on the south side of Broadway, a wide tree-lined avenue with a landscaped median
- the building's situation, with its front elevation set back slightly from the public sidewalk
Key exterior elements that define the block's stately Beaux-Arts Classical style and residential function include:
- the substantial W-shaped form, five storeys tall over a raised basement, composed of three elongated interconnected volumes further articulated by multi-storey bay windows
- the reinforced concrete and brick construction and the fine finishes, including the front cladding of rusticated stone (base) and red pressed brick (upper walls), the generous stone ornamentation, etc.
- the imposing, classically adorned front, symmetrical and column-like in its organization as expressed through vertical and horizontal elements such as bay windows, central pavilion, etc.
- the grand twin entranceways into the main wells featuring stone frontispieces of Tuscan columns, plain entablatures, elegant balustrades and attached pilasters, etc.
- the abundant fenestration on three sides and in all wells, mainly comprised of tall rectangular windows in singles or groups of two or more, including four-storey bay windows, etc.
- the classical details, including the massive stone and metal entablature complete with a modillioned cornice, the stone-capped brick parapet, the stone-capped battlements atop the front bay windows, etc.
- the identical main entrances with stone staircases and oversized stone lintels with keystones
- other features and finishes, such as metal fire escapes, the clay brick finish and window detailing on the west and rear elevations, etc.
Key elements that define the block's interior character include:
- the layout, including wide hallways on all floors leading to high-ceilinged suites of various sizes
- the two elegantly finished front vestibules connected by a wide hallway lined with tall, coved wainscotting and high marble baseboards, and with 'PRINCETON' in mosaic tile inside the doorway
- the central elevator with an elaborate metal cage
- the numerous staircases, including the central marble staircase and the others with wood balustrades
- the finishes and details, including hardwood flooring, high wood baseboards, wood doors with glass panels, wood window and door surrounds, etc.