Description of Historic Place
The Engineering Research Building is located at the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) in Ottawa. The building consists of a two-and-a-half storey office block with a shingled, hipped roof with dormers and a long, two-storey workshop with a metal covered hipped and gabled roof. Inspired by the farms architectural vocabulary, the office block is clad in brick and stucco while the open concept workshop section is clad in brick. The building’s principal façade is distinguished by its arched entrance, stone details and centre, gabled parapet. Large multi-pane windows provide light and ventilation to the workshop. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Engineering Research Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Engineering Research Building is closely associated with Canada’s experimental farm system and its role in agricultural research and education. The building was used to design, construct and test highly specialized agricultural machines at a time when machines began to replace manual labour on Canadian farms. The building was also used for testing materials and designs recommended by the Department of Agriculture for agricultural buildings and farm planning. Built specifically for programs associated with agricultural research, Engineering Research Building also represents the CEF’s development as an experimental farm with an emphasis on research and testing.
Engineering Research Building is valued for its good aesthetic qualities. The building combines modern architectural design features with Beaux-Arts principles and Tudor-Revival details. The Beaux-Arts influence is evidenced in the building’s symmetry and axial planning for its office space section. Modern features, including its metal frame and large, multi-pane windows, allowed for ample natural light and ventilation and provided a good, functional, open-concept work area. Details executed in the Tudor-Revival style, such as the brick and stucco work, the arched entrance, gables and dormers, are in keeping with the architectural program of the farm and reveal good craftsmanship.
Engineering Research Building is compatible with the agricultural character of its experimental farm setting and is a familiar building within the immediate area.
Sources: Cosimo Zacconi, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, SCR 97-035; Engineering Research Building, Building 94, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 97-035.
The following character-defining elements of the Engineering Research Building should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, good functional design and good materials and
craftsmanship, for example:
- the building’s composition, which consists of a two-and-a-half storey office block with a shingled, hipped roof with dormers and joined to a long, two-storey workshop section with a metal covered, hipped and gabled roof;
- the projecting brick chimney and three metal ventilation pipe chimneys;
- the metal frame construction;
- the Tudor-Revival features of the office section, including the brick and stucco cladding, the flat arches, the stone lintels, keystones and gabled parapet, the semi- circular window, and the arched entrance;
- the symmetry and axial planning of the office section, which speaks to its Beaux-Arts principles;
- the distinct, unornamented, brick clad volume of the large, open-concept workshop section;
- the large multi-pane windows, the two, wide bay doors, one of which is surmounted by a large semi-circular window;
- the foundation walls that are evidence of the 1890 root cellar.
The manner in which the Engineering Research Building is compatible with the agricultural character of its experimental farm setting and is a neighbourhood landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall design, brick and stucco cladding and Tudor Revival details, which are consistent with CEF buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries;
- its importance as part of a group of research and science buildings located at the farm,
which makes it a familiar building to visitors and employees.