Description of Historic Place
The Health Protection Building, also known as Building 7 and the Former Department of Health & Welfare, Food and Drug Laboratory, is a large, low two-storey office building, crowned by two penthouses along its central spine. Its double-T plan results in generous courtyards. The building occupies a vast lot along the main axis of the Tunney’s Pasture campus, at an important intersection and across from the Brooke Claxton Building, the focal point of Tunney’s Pasture. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Health Protection Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, as well as its architectural and environmental values.
Built as the headquarters of the Food and Drug Directorate (now the Health Protection Branch of Health Canada), the Health Protection Building is a very good example of the role of the federal government in ensuring the safety and protection of Canadian consumers. Erected during the initial development phase of the Tunney’s Pasture campus, the Health Protection Building also represents the consolidation of federal departments into suburban governmental nodes.
Designed by the very prominent Toronto firm of Marani and Morris, the Health Protection Building is a good example of an institutional facility designed in the modern classical style. Its clean and almost austere expression derives from its strong horizontality and limited window patterns, only enlivened by stone mouldings around the openings and a variety of brick bonds. Functionally, the Health Protection Building was designed for specific uses, clearly distributed into the various wings. It was also constructed with standard durable materials and good craftsmanship.
Despite the construction of the larger and taller Jean-Talon Building immediately to the south in the late 1970s, the Health Protection Building with its scale, massing, style and materials, continues to reinforce the character of the group of low brick buildings constructed during the initial development phase of Tunney’s Pasture. Although the south end of the front wing and a new main entrance were added in the mid-1960s, the relationship of the Health Protection Building to its flat terrain, walkways, generous lawns and informal, inviting exterior courtyards remains largely intact.
Sources: Geneviève Charrois & Catherine Cournoyer, Ten Buildings - Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Review Office Building Report 04-050-058, 062; 7/ Health Protection Building, Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 04-052.
The character-defining elements of the Health Protection Building should be respected.
Its aesthetic expression in the modern classical style, as illustrated in:
- its clean horizontal lines and simple two-storey massing, along with one large penthouse visible above the main entrance and another visible from the rear courtyards;
- its unadorned, light coloured façades, simply highlighted with brick facing in English bond, soldier bond near the parapets, artificial stone mouldings around the windows, and green enamel panels in some of the openings;
- the double-T plan, with its numerous façades and fenestration patterns varying slightly from one façade to another, expressing the different interior functions and providing three-dimensionality to otherwise smooth building planes.
Its good functional design, standard for institutional buildings of its era, as demonstrated in:
- the simple and adaptable double-T plan, with its central corridors and rooms on either side providing generous natural lighting and ventilation;
- its functional organization distributed into four zones: offices at the front of the building, a library behind, a wing of laboratories and a section for research on large live animals at the back, which included an extra high parapet to allow animals to walk on the roof.
Its use of standard durable materials assembled with good craftsmanship.
Its role in reinforcing the character of the group of low brick buildings constructed during the initial development phase of Tunney’s Pasture, and as a familiar yet secondary landmark for the community of civil servants working on the campus, as evidenced in:
- its scale, massing, style and materials;
- the intact relationship of the building to its flat terrain, walkways, generous lawns and exterior courtyards;
- its low profile presence and expression, which reinforces the landmark status of the adjacent Brooke Claxton Building;
- its prime location along the main axis of the Tunney’s Pasture campus (Holland Avenue), at an important intersection (Columbine Boulevard).