Description of Historic Place
The Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building, also known as the Administrative Office, is a rectangular one-and-a-half storey building with a steep gable roof. The two long walls and the gable walls have symmetrically arranged openings, and the roof has three dormers on each side. The exterior siding is a mix of contrasting textures and colours, including vertical wood siding painted white, red shingles, grey shingles, and green shutters. A glassed-in porch with a sloped roof extends from the back of the main part of the building, and a rubble stone chimney rises along the right gable wall. The building stands on a grassy hill surrounded by trees along the main road through the Valcartier Forestry Research Station, in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building was designated a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Valcartier Forestry Research Station, which was founded in 1934 and is one of five research stations administered by the Canadian Forestry Service, is representative of the theme of forestry research in Canada. The Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building was constructed by unemployed workers from the Valcartier emergency camp, one of the two biggest work camps created during the Great Depression, and is also illustrative of the federal government’s support for the establishment of forestry research stations through its Unemployment Relief. The building was constructed in 1936 and recalls the wave of development the station experienced in the 1930s.
The design of the Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building is rooted in traditional Quebec architecture as rediscovered by the Arts and Crafts movement. It borrows many of the stylistic features typical of a “Quebec house,” such as harmonious proportioning, symmetry and a picturesque appearance. The building also bears witness to good functional design, as the simple plan effectively meets program needs. Built from plans produced by the Department of National Defence, the Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building was constructed using concrete block and other common materials and simple building techniques adapted to the mostly unskilled labour force from the work camp. Still, the building is a fine specimen in terms of materials and craftsmanship and has largely retained its physical integrity.
Owing to its stature, its aesthetic quality and its position high on a grassy hill, the Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building is the most imposing building at the forestry station, which comprises a variety of buildings located in a natural wooded area. The Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building reinforces the character of the site. Despite changes to the surrounding area as a result of the loss and addition of buildings nearby, the relationship between the building and its setting, a clearing surrounded by trees, remains unchanged.
Sources: Christine Chartré, Administrative Office, Main Buiding, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier Forestry Research Station, 41, rue Murphy, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec, Federal Heritage Building Report, 04-034; Heritage Character Statement, 04-034.
The character-defining elements of the Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building should be respected.
Elements related to the theme of forestry research in Canada and the support provided by the federal government through its hiring assistance program in the 1930s, which are reflected in:
- its construction type, which draws on traditional Quebec architecture, a style adopted by the Department of National Defence in 1936.
Its very good aesthetic quality, evident in the building’s composition, inspired by local vernacular architecture, its efficient functional design, and its good quality materials and craftsmanship, which are reflected in:
- the simple massing and harmonious proportions, consisting of a rectangular plan with a very steep gable roof and a rubble stone chimney on one of the gable walls;
- the symmetry of the elevations, including the main façade, which has a centre door with two windows on each side on the ground floor, and the three dormer windows on each side of the gable roof;
- the multi-light windows framed by shutters;
- the traditional siding materials with contrasting textures and colours, including vertical wood siding painted white on the ground floor, the green shutters and window frames, the red shingles on the gable walls and the grey roof shingles;
- the glassed-in porch along the back, which shares many architectural features with the main part of the building, such as wood plank siding and multi-light windows;
- the simple, adaptable floor plan;
- the use of simple, proven building techniques, such as poured concrete foundations and concrete block walls covered with traditional siding materials;
The role of the Valcartier Forestry Research Station Administration Building as an element that reinforces the character of its setting, which is reflected in:
- the imposing size and aesthetic quality of the building;
- the prominent location of the building on a grassy hill near the entrance to the station.