Description of Historic Place
The Chemical Radioactive Ores Building is part of a cohesive complex of modern offices and laboratories on Booth Street. The building, owned by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), has a U-shaped plan consisting of long, three and four-storey wings extending from a prominent vertical stair block. The clearly defined main entrance is located at a corner of the building. A pronounced horizontal emphasis, geometric volumes, glazed surfaces, broad expanses of brick and an absence of decorative elements characterize the building. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Chemical Radioactive Ores Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Chemical Radioactive Ores Building, as part of the NRCan complex of buildings, is a very good example of a structure associated with the post-Second World War exploration and mapping of Canada and with the development of the mining sector. The building also reflects the acceleration of mineral exploration and ore testing by the federal government. It is associated with the pioneering of many new techniques in the area of radioactivity, and with Arvid Thunaes and Dr. E. A. Brown, who advanced new approaches in the recovery of radioactive materials from ore samples. The building is currently used for laboratory research and administration.
Valued for its good aesthetics, the Chemical Radioactive Ores Building is an example of the International Style of architecture widely used by the federal government during the period of post-war expansion. The building has clean lines, a legible structure, an asymmetrically balanced composition, and a building form determined by functional requirements. Good craftsmanship and materials are evident at the entrance and in the interior finishes.
The Chemical Radioactive Ores Building reinforces its landscaped, campus-like setting and is a well-known local landmark.
Sources: Leslie Maitland and Fern Graham, Chemical and Radioactive Ores Building (now Canmet), Geological Survey of Canada Building, Surveys and Mapping 555, 601 and 615 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 92-043, 92-045a and 92-045b; Chemical and Radioactive Ores Building, 588 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 92-043.
The character-defining elements of the Chemical Radioactive Ores Building should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, good functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the asymmetrical, U-shaped massing with intersecting volumes and flat roofs;
-the steel frame construction and broad expanses of exterior brick veneer;
-the horizontal emphasis of the façades created by bands of aluminium-framed windows with prominent stone sills and projecting overhead brises-soleil;
-the main entrance of steel and glass with polished black granite surrounds;
-the interior finishes, including the terrazzo floors in the hallways, and linoleum, tile and terrazzo in the offices.
The manner in which the Chemical Radioactive Ores Building reinforces its landscaped, campus-like setting and is a prominent local landmark, as evidenced by:
-its massing, materials and design that harmonizes with its landscaped surroundings at the complex and complements adjacent buildings;
-its visibility and familiarity given its prominent location along Booth Street, and its use as federal offices.