Langevin Block - Ottawa, Ontario
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
N 45° 25.451 W 075° 41.863
18T E 445416 N 5030310
Quick Description: The Langevin Building is part of Confederation Square national historic site and is located on Wellington Street in Ottawa.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date Posted: 1/20/2012 8:01:09 AM
Waymark Code: WMDJBJ
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Hard Oiler
Views: 29

Long Description:
"Langevin Block National Historic Site of Canada, stands within Confederation Square National Historic Site of Canada, located on Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Prominently situated opposite Parliament Buildings National Historic Site of Canada, it is one of the finest federal examples of a Second Empire style office building. Of robust appearance, this four-storey high building, features a limestone exterior, pavilion massing, round arched windows and a copper mansard roof; complimented by a rich decorative vocabulary. The building is well-known due to its current use as the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office. Official recognition refers to the building on its footprint at the time of designation.

Langevin Block was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1977 because:
- it emphasizes the importance of the Department of Public Works’ architecture;
- constructed to the designs of Thomas Fuller, it provided accommodation for an expanding civil service;
- this impressive structure is a modified version of the Second Empire Style

Constructed between 1883 and 1889, the Langevin Block is one of the best surviving examples of the work of Thomas Fuller, Chief Architect of the Department of Public Works from 1881 to 1896. During his tenure as Chief Architect, Fuller supervised the construction of over 140 buildings across Canada and was responsible for designing buildings in smaller urban centres that came to symbolize the federal government. Fuller’s attention to architectural details and his interest in creating a distinguished collection of federal buildings through the use of superior materials and craftsmanship is evident in the design and construction of the Langevin Building.

The Langevin Block was the first purpose-built departmental building erected by the federal government outside the boundaries of Parliament Hill. The original Centre Block and two departmental buildings on Parliament Hill were designed to house all of the legislative and civil service functions of the United Province of Canada (present day Ontario and Quebec). After Confederation in 1867, the number of Members of Parliament, Senators and clerical staff increased substantially. In addition, the 1870 transfer of the Northwest Territories to the newly formed Dominion facilitated the rapid growth in the size and responsibility of the Departments of the Interior and of Indian Affairs. By 1880, the lack of office space on Parliament Hill became a major problem for legislators and civil servants. In 1883, the decision was made to construct a new building (the Langevin Block) on purchased land, rather than to expand the West Block on Parliament Hill.

Upon its completion in 1889, the building was named for Sir Hector Langevin, Father of Confederation and Minister of Public Works during the buildings’ construction. The building originally housed the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Indian Affairs and the Post Office. The Department of Indian Affairs continued to occupy the Langevin Block until 1965. Between 1975 and 1977 the building was renovated to house the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office.

The Langevin Block is a late example of the use of the Second Empire style in government buildings. The building features a mansard roof punctuated by dormers, as well as numerous Romanesque Revival references that steer its design away from French models towards North American ones. The Langevin Block is one of the few surviving examples of a building constructed in this style by the Department of Public Works.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1977; Plaque Text, 1991."

Reference: (visit link)
Link to Property in The Ontario Properties Database: [Web Link]

Building or Property Type: Civic or Government Building

County or Regional Municipality: Ottawa-Carleton

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