Description of Historic Place
Building 30, also known as Officers’ Mess, is prominently located at the center of a peninsular shore front, at the Canadian Force Base (CFB) Cornwallis. Building 30 is a large, gable-roofed, building that is symmetrical in its H-shaped plan and window arrangement. Constructed with horizontal wood siding and designed in the Colonial Revival style, it has an oversized semi-circular entrance porch with columns featuring both Doric and Ionic capitals. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 30 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Building 30 is representative of the evolution of luxury summer estates in Canada during the inter-war period. It is also strongly associated with the development of naval training after the estate was transformed into Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Cornwallis in 1943. The move of the main new-entry training facilities from Halifax to Cornwallis greatly improved the productivity, efficiency and quality of the training process. Building 30 is also associated with the 1968 unification of the Armed Forces when the base became the primary English language new-recruit training center in Canada.
Building 30 is a good example of a building built originally as a luxury summer estate, popular during the inter-war period. It is designed in the Colonial Revival style of architecture, using classically derived elements. The large rear wing was built by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 1943 to a much more utilitarian design. This wing’s interior finish displays a high quality of craftsmanship with its wood panelled stairwell and mouldings. The wing also contains a large mural, designed by official RCN war artist Tom Wood and painted by Gordon Stranks, of the Naval Art Service.
Building 30 reinforces the character of its military base setting at CFB Cornwallis. The building is distinct and familiar on the base.
Sources: Officers’ Mess, Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 91-183; Officers’ Mess, CFB Cornwallis, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 91-183.
The following character-defining elements of Building 30 should be respected.
Its Colonial Revival style, utilitarian design and good craftsmanship, for example:
-its gable-roofed, H-shaped plan which is composed of a two-and-a-half storey wing, symmetrical in plan, single-storey lateral wings, and a rear T-shaped wing;
-its wood construction;
-its Colonial Revival details, including the oversized semi-circular entrance porch with its attenuated columns, featuring both Doric and Ionic capitals, the massive double chimneys, a small lunette window on the south wall, and the multi-paned wood windows with hooded trim;
-its interior wood-panelled stairwell and mouldings, and the large mural;
-its surviving interior plan.
The manner in which Building 30 reinforces the character of its neighbourhood setting at CFB Cornwallis and is a familiar building in the area, as evidenced by:
-the Colonial Revival style of the residential structure which harmonizes with four buildings which pre-date the construction of CFB Cornwallis such as the base commander’s residence, the coach house, the Morse barn and commander’s garage;
-its imposing style and prominent location at the center of the peninsular shore as well as its significant social function, which is important to the formal character of its immediate surrounding and to the entire base;
-its conspicuous scale and architectural style which distinguishes it from most other buildings at CFB Cornwallis and contributes to its status as a familiar landmark for residents of the base.