Description of Historic Place
The Drill Hall, also known as Building H12, is a basic two-storey rectangular structure with a medium pitched gable roof, surrounded on its front and side elevations by a one-storey flat-roofed bay. Its design is characterized by a strong horizontality, which is articulated through the use of band windows, and also features large expanses of glass curtain wall at the gable ends. The drill hall is located on an open grassed site, in the central training and manoeuvres area of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Drill Hall is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Among the first buildings to be built at CFB Gagetown, the largest army-training base in the Commonwealth, the Drill Hall is a very good example of the national theme of the establishment of a large permanent regular force in response to Canada’s North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and other Cold War commitments. As one of the early buildings and an integral part of the development of the base, the Drill Hall is also a very good example of the establishment of the base as a significant turning point in the local community.
The Drill Hall is a good example of a standard plan, designed by the well-known firm of Gordon S. Adamson & Associates and widely used by the Department of National Defence on several of its military bases during the 1950s. A modern interpretation of a traditional building type, it features a simple and unadorned composition and conveys a sense of permanence. Its good standard layout, also a modern version of the well-established typology for drill halls, has served its function well, as demonstrated by its continuity of use.
The Drill Hall reinforces the military character of the training and manoeuvres area of the base, through its visual identity as a training facility and its distinctive design. Its location and use as a gathering space for various events have also contributed to making the building a familiar landmark to the community of the base.
Sources: Robert J. Burns, Heritage Research Associates, Inc., Federal Heritage Building Review Office Report 01-062; D15 Drillhall[?], CFB Gagetown, Oromocto, New-Brunswick, Heritage Character Statement 01-062.
The character-defining elements of the Drill Hall should be respected.
Its simple and modern interpretation of the traditional drill hall typology, its functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, as demonstrated in:
- its simple and unadorned exterior composition, made up of the contrasting volumes and roof lines of the building’s central gabled portion and the lower flat-roofed side bays;
- its strong horizontality as expressed through the use of horizontal band windows on the side elevations;
- the large expanses of glazing at the roof peaks at the front and rear elevations;
- the standard interior layout consisting of a large central training space surrounded by smaller spaces accommodating offices, the shooting range and service areas;
- the building’s rationalized structural concrete frame, including the pre-cast concrete slab roof and steel beam and concrete block structural walls, which was a standard approach for this building type;
- the durable exterior materials including concrete, brick, steel and glass;
- the offset main entrance door, which contrasts with the overall symmetry of the building.
The manner in which the building reinforces the military character of the training and manoeuvres area of the base, through its continuous use as a drill hall, distinctive design and the sense of permanence it conveys, as manifested in:
- the visual identity of the building as a training structure, due to its clear massing and large gable roof;
- its scale, materials and architectural components, which are similar to those of neighbouring buildings;
- the building’s relationship to its well-defined rectangular site, delimited by roadways and featuring lawn and simple plantings.