Description of Historic Place
The Federal Building is located on a hill and faces an adjacent square within the central business area of Sherbrooke. The classically based design of the monumental three-storey structure combines symmetrical massing and a tripartite articulation of the façades with a modern expression of simple volumes and smooth surfaces executed in light granite. Minor carved detailing such as the ribbed pilasters and low relief carving are inspired by the Art Deco style. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Federal Building in Sherbrooke is a recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Federal Building in Sherbrooke is associated with the increasing growth in population and prosperity following the Second World War and with the expansion of facilities for the provision of new federal services. The construction of the building also reflects the growth of Sherbrooke and its shifting economy as it developed into a regional service and administration centre in the 1950s.
The Federal Building in Sherbrooke is valued for its aesthetic qualities. Its striking appearance is a result of its classically based, monumental design, symmetrical massing and detailing of classical and Art Deco inspiration. A good functionally-designed building, the interior is comprised of well-defined public and private spaces. Well-crafted, high quality finishes, using materials such as marble, terrazzo and decorative plasterwork, define the public spaces, while non-public spaces are defined by more functional finishes. Very good craftsmanship is also demonstrated in the smooth granite cladding and decorative detailing of the façades.
The Federal Building reinforces the mixed nature of its central business area setting in Sherbrooke. The building is also a community landmark.
Sources: Government of Canada Building (GOCB), Sherbrooke, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 95-012; Government of Canada Building (GOCB), Sherbrooke, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 95-012.
The following character-defining elements of the Federal Building in Sherbrooke should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, good functional design, and very good craftsmanship and
materials, for example:
- the simple rectangular massing of the three-storey, flat-roofed structure;
- the stepped massing of volumes, the use of smooth surfaces, minimal window trims, low relief carving, and rounded returns at the entrances, which enhance its streamlined ‘modern’ expression;
- the monumentally-scaled, long façade which features a classically inspired tripartite division of base, body and cornice with a central entrance portico, end pavilions, and giant pilasters articulating the bays;
- the façades executed in matte finished light granite with minor carved detailing at the entrances and polished dark granite at the base as well as the accent features inspired by Art Deco design such as the copings, curved entrance returns and ribbed canopy projections;
- the good quality masonry work including the brickwork of the rear of the building;
- the entrances and interior finishes such as the high quality finishes of the public spaces, including marble dados, patterned terrazzo flooring, decorative ceiling plasterwork, and aluminium framing for doors and windows as well as the functional finishes of the non-public spaces.
The manner in which the Federal Building reinforces the mixed nature of its central business area setting, and is a community landmark in Sherbrooke, as evidenced by:
- its scale and modern appearance which emphasizes a federal presence and also
harmonizes with the surrounding buildings along King Street;
- its visibility and familiarity within the city given its prominent location on a hill
facing an adjacent square, and its role as a former post office.