Description of Historic Place
The Radar Training Building is a prominent two storey modern structure made of concrete blocks, concrete, and steel. It features a simple, rectangular massing with a flat roof, large expanses of glass and horizontal spandrel panels. The Radar Training Building is a purpose-built training facility located south of the Trades Training Building on the south side of Lang Cove and across from the main complex at the Naden site in Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt, British Columbia. The formal designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Radar Training Building at the Canadian Forces Fleet School is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Radar Training Building is a very good illustration of the expansion and the modernization of the Canadian Navy in the 1950s, in response to the development of the Cold War and the establishment of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Radar Training Building is representative of the 1950s approach to accommodating and training military personnel in the post-war period. The Radar Training Building is a very good illustration of the third phase of expansion and development of the Naden site as a training center for specialized trades of the Canadian Navy in the 1950s.
The Radar Training Building is a good example of late Modern architecture in its expression of the rational plan and the aesthetic derived from the function of the building and the use of modern materials and minimal detailing. The exterior of the building comprises simple rectilinear forms following the gentle slope of the site and punctuated by large expanses of glass. The Radar Training Building is a very good example of a purpose-built technical training facility and consists of simple, efficient, and versatile interior spaces, which include classrooms, offices and lecture theatres. The building is well constructed of easy to maintain and durable materials and presents good quality of craftsmanship. The building is also a very good example of the work of the well-known west coast firm McCarter & Nairne and Partners Architects and Engineers and illustrates well their approach to the science of economical design.
As one of the larger and more prominent building in CFB Esquimalt-Naden, the Radar Training Building reinforces the institutional character of its surrounding area. The Radar Training Building is located on a high point of land surrounded by lower height buildings on tree-lined streets to the east and the south, a wooded area to the west, and the Trades Training Building to the north. Minor changes to the site, which include the creation of Yukon Avenue in 1988 and the narrowing of Apprentice Way, have changed the historical relationship between the building and its surrounding landscape but its character has been retained. The Radar Training Building is conspicuous and familiar to the CFB Esquimalt community, both as a training facility and as part of the long history of training at the Naden site.
Sources: Fern Mackenzie, Buildings 92 & 92A (Canadian Forces Fleet School Trades Training and Radar Training, Formerly Naval Technical School), CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 05-101; Radar Training Building, Esquimalt, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement 05-101.
The character-defining elements of the Radar Training Building should be respected.
Its illustration of the expansion and the modernization of the Canadian Navy in the 1950s as reflected in:
- the purpose-built design of the technical training facility that is representative of the new approach of accommodating and training military personnel in the post-war period.
Its good Modern design, very good functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
- its simple, ordered, geometric massing responding to the gently sloping site;
- its exterior façades, with minimal detailing, including a grid pattern of windows, clearly expressing the interior arrangements and functions of spaces;
- its highly efficient interior layout consisting of double-loaded corridors, classrooms, lecture theatres, and administrative areas;
- the natural lighting of the interiors resulting from extensive use of glass in the administrative and classroom areas and north facing clerestory windows for the workshop areas;
- the use of durable, easy to maintain materials including glass, brick, concrete block, reinforced concrete and steel;
- the use of sound traditional and well-executed construction techniques including concrete block masonry, and steel and reinforced concrete construction;
- the formal, institutional character of the administrative and classroom interiors, as expressed by the clean and efficient appearance, minimal detailing, and the use of hard finishes such as ceramic tiles, terrazzo, and steel;
- the floor to ceiling wood and glass partitioning system in the offices, which was widely used in government offices in the 1950s.
The manner in which the building reinforces the institutional character of CFB Esquimalt as evidenced in:
- its large size and prominent location on a high point of land on the Naden site of CFB Esquimalt;
- its siting amongst similar buildings that dominate their settings.