Description of Historic Place
Building 29, also known as the Administration Building, is prominently located at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton. It is a long, two-storey office block, composed of a central pavilion and smaller flanking pavilions. Designed in a modern classical style, the building is highly symmetrical in both plan and elevation. Classical decorative motifs are restricted to columns and entablature framing the main and secondary entrance. A large drill hall was added to the back of the building in 1983. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building at the time of its designation.
Building 29 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Building 29 is closely associated with Canada’s military history, as the administrative center for the foundation of the Royal Canadian Air Forces (RCAF) in the 1930s. It is also associated with the war effort of the 1940s, particularly the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), the Cold War era, and international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. As the administration center for CFB Trenton, the building is also associated with the city of Trenton’s development by providing jobs and boosting the local economy. The construction phase of the building is associated with the Depression-era federal assistance programs, aimed at providing employment and stimulating the economy. As the base’s headquarters, the Administration Building reflects the base’s contributions to Trenton’s economic, social and cultural development.
Building 29 is valued for its very good aesthetic design. It is a classically inspired, modern design and is a very good example of the types of buildings erected by the RCAF during the 1930s. The design’s fundamental classicism lies in its axial symmetry, and in its decorative motifs. The Modernist influence is demonstrated in the rectangular massing and in the minimal use of ornamentation. The good functional design embodies construction simplicity and speed, and fireproof materials. The building also exhibits very good craftsmanship and materials.
Building 29 establishes the formal character of its military base setting at CFB Trenton. CFB Trenton’s main ceremonial axis is sequentially defined by the Administration Building, the Memorial Gates and the Parade Square and is of commemorative significance. As such, Building 29 has become a landmark of physical prominence with symbolic status.
Sources: Leslie Maitland, Administration Building, Building 29, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Trenton, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 94-039; Administration Building, Building 29, CFB Trenton, Trenton, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 94-039.
The character-defining elements of Building 29 should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design, good functional design and very good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the massing, which consists of a long, two-storey office block with a large, open span drill hall structure behind;
- the overall axial symmetry that is reinforced by a main central pavilion with smaller flanking end pavilions;
- the basement plinth and the formal flights of stairs to the main and secondary entrances;
- the steel frame and poured reinforced concrete structural system clad in a stucco finish;
- the subtle architectural ornamentation which includes classical, decorative motifs, such as the colonnade and entablature framing the main and secondary entrances, and the abbreviated, applied columns and pilasters which reflect the modernist influence;
- the regular fenestration pattern.
The manner in which Building 29 establishes the formal character of its military base setting at CFB Trenton and is a well-known landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, massing, axial symmetry and materials which together with the Parade Square and Memorial Gates define CFB Trenton’s main ceremonial axis;
- its large scale and prominent location, as well as its symbolic status as a pivotal structure in the history and operation of CFB Trenton, which contributes to its status as a well-known landmark in Trenton.