Description of Historic Place
Northern Tower D-4 consists of a well-proportioned, octagonal concrete tower that features a concrete cornice and corbels, red brick veneer infill panels, and is capped with a one-storey observation deck and security gallery. Northern Tower D-4 stands at the northwest corner of the north wall of the Prince Albert Penitentiary, which is located on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River and is surrounded by agricultural lands and mixed-use buildings. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Northern Tower D-4 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Northern Tower D-4 is associated with the national historic theme of the Canadian justice system and the development of a system of corrections as a response to a need for a graduated tier of penalties to enforce the law. The construction of the penitentiary’s walls and four corner towers, including Northern Tower D-4, between 1922 and 1926, defines the termination of the first and most important phase in the development of the Prince Albert Penitentiary. A fundamental component of the protective network of the penitentiary, the completion of the towers and walls signified the achievement of the minimum departmental standard for a complete federal correctional facility.
The Northern Tower D-4 is a good example of a tower designed in the architectural tradition of castles and fortresses, and handled with a modern sensibility. Balanced and well-proportioned, the form of the Northern Tower D-4 is derived from a classical column and is composed of an octagonal shaft featuring a base, projecting concrete cornice and corbels, and a one-storey observation deck with security gallery. Constructed of durable, good quality materials, the tower displays a high level of craftsmanship in the execution of the exterior concrete cornice and pilasters, and the red brick veneer infill panels.
Northern Tower D-4 is located at the northwest corner of the penitentiary’s north wall, and together with Towers D-1, D-2 and D-3, it reinforces the institutional character of the prison. Highly visible from the surrounding area, Northern Tower D-4’s distinctive form and location contribute to the identification of the penitentiary, and make it a familiar landmark within the city and the region.
Source: Northern Tower D4, Prince Albert Penitentiary, Saskatchewan. Heritage Character Statement 89-036.
The following character-defining elements of Northern Tower D-4 should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the development of a system of corrections as a response to a need for a graduated tier of penalties to enforce the law is reflected in:
-its function, as an essential component of the penitentiary’s first line of defence in maintaining prison security through the provision of supervision and surveillance.
The building’s aesthetic design, detailing, good quality materials and skilled craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the balanced and well-proportioned composition of the tower which consists of a concrete base, an octagonal shaft, a projecting concrete cornice and corbels, and a one-storey, octagonal observation gallery and low hipped roof;
-the narrow, deeply inset windows and doorways;
-the relatively simple functional program which consists of a staircase, guard room and observation gallery.
The manner in which the tower reinforces the institutional character of the prison setting as evidenced in:
-its distinctive and identifiable form as a prison security tower and its contribution to the definition of the perimeter of the penitentiary;
-the compatibility of its materials and style with Towers D-1, D-2 and D-3; and,
-its visual prominence owing to its location at the northwest corner of the prison.