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Geophysical Laboratory, Building 3

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/01/20

Corner view of the Geophysical Laboratory 3, 1993.; Agence Parcs Canada, Parks Canada Agency, Fern Graham, 1993.
General view of the place
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1954/01/01 to 1955/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/05/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Geophysical Laboratory 3 is located at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The modern, two storey, L-shaped building has a prominent two-and-a-half storey entrance block. The exterior of the building is clad in brick. The windows are horizontally arranged, framed with a stone trim and set flush with the wall plane. A tall brick chimney projects from the building’s flat roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Geophysical Laboratory 3 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Geophysical Laboratory 3 is closely associated with the accelerated growth of the area of study dealing with gravity, geomagnetism and solar physics in Canada. The building is also associated with Dr. Morris J.S. Innes who was the director of the division developing specialized instruments for the field of geophysics. The building is connected with the second phase of work conducted at the Dominion Observatory, and was one of a wave of government research buildings constructed around Ottawa.

Architectural Value
The Geophysical Laboratory 3 is valued for its good aesthetic design executed in the International Style, which was adopted for federal buildings during the mid-1950s. In keeping with this style, the massing reflects internal layouts, indicative of a good functional design. The rectilinear forms and materials have simple modern detailing and a variety of glazing types.

Environmental Value
The Geophysical Laboratory 3 is compatible with the character of its park-like setting at the experimental farm and is a familiar building within the immediate area.

Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, NOTES 92-037.

The Geophysical Laboratory, Building #3, Central Experimental Farm. Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 92-037.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Geophysical Laboratory 3 should be respected, for example:

Its good International Style design, good functional design and good materials and craftsmanship, for example:

-The simple, flat-roofed, two storey, L-shaped structure;
-The asymmetrical massing, consisting of blocks that contain the entrance, an auditorium, and office/ laboratories, all of which are distinguished by a variety of fenestration types expressing the diverse functions of each block;
-The low form and horizontal emphasis of the building are accentuated;
-The smooth brick walls with stone trim set flush with the wall plane and the vertical panels;
-The metal detailing in the simple, horizontal planes of the entrance canopies, the lettering and the cast ornament above the entrance;
-The central corridor plan and the laboratory / office layouts.

The manner in which the Geophysical Laboratory 3 is compatible with the character of its park-like setting at the experimental farm and is a neighbourhood landmark, as evidenced by:

-Its overall scale and materials, which harmonize with its surrounding buildings and the groomed landscape at the Observatory Campus;
-Its location at the Observatory Campus, which makes it a familiar building to visitors and employees of the farm.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Health and Research
Research Facility

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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Aerial view of research centre and fields

Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada

The Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada, located in urban Ottawa, Ontario, is comprised of various structures and buildings embedded within a large rural…


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