Building 15

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Beaverlodge, Alberta
Corner view of Building 15, showing the simple rectangular massing, and the rainbow or gambrel roof, 1989. (© Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food / Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Agroalimentaire, 1989.)
Corner view
(© Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food / Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Agroalimentaire, 1989.)
Address : Beaverlodge Research Station, Research Farm, Beaverlodge, Alberta

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1990-02-15
  • 1947 to 1947 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Department of Agriculture  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Ecology and Weeds Building  (Other Name)
  • Research Station, Building 15  (Other Name)
Custodian: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 89-012
DFRP Number: 15902 00

Description of Historic Place

Situated on prairie farmland in a group of buildings of traditional agricultural appearance, Building 15, also known as the Research Station or the Ecology and Weeds Building is a rectangular, gambrel-roofed structure clad with timber siding. It is a three-storey construction with symmetrical end elevations, low side elevations, and regular window placement with simple detailing. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Building 15 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
Building 15 is a very good example of the federal government’s commitment to experimental agricultural research. Built during post war expansion of research facilities, Building 15 is also associated with the theme of the development of scientific agriculture and the employment of mixed farming practices in the west. After serving as a beef cattle barn the building was converted to a laboratory in 1969-70.

Architectural Value:
Building 15 is a good, late example of a barn with a gambrel roof. It is a well-proportioned, functional structure. A thoughtful and efficient response to the conditions and materials of the Prairies, it is distinguished by its good functional design and is constructed of solid materials with little ornamentation.

Environmental Value:
Building 15 is the dominant building of the Beaverlodge Research Station and reinforces its present character. The immediate setting around Building 15 features concrete sidewalks and a parking lot. The height and volume of the structure make it visually prominent in the local landscape.

Sources: Joanna H. Doherty, Two Buildings, Beaverlodge Research Station, Beaverlodge, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 89-012; Ecology and Weeds Building, Beaverlodge Research Station, Beaverlodge, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement 89-012.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Building 15 should be respected.

Its functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in: the simple rectangular massing; the rainbow or gambrel roof; the three-storey superstructure of wood frame construction; the symmetrical end elevations and low side elevations; the regular window placement with simple detailing.

The manner in which Building 15 reinforces the rural character of the Peace River region of Alberta.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.

The Ecology and Weeds Building (Building #15) on the Beaverlodge Research Station in Beaverlodge, Alberta, was built in 1947 to the designs of the Architectural Office of the Department of Agriculture. It is the property of Agriculture Canada. See FHBRO Building Report 89-12.

Reasons for Designation
The Ecology and Weeds Building was designated Recognized primarily for its historical and environmental significance.

It was constructed in 1947 during the post World War II expansion of the Experimental Farms Service. The Peace River Region of Alberta had become, by the 1930s and 1940s, the northernmost commercially important agricultural region in North America. The Ecology Building, constructed as a cattle barn, reflected the upgraded status of Beaverlodge to that of a full-fledged station. Founded as a sub-station in 1915 to study animal and field husbandry, Beaverlodge expanded its activities during the period leading up to the second World War and began to specialize in livestock nutrition. As its current name suggests, the building now plays an important role as a research facility for weed control and forage quality, to develop crops and farming practices suitable to the soils of a northern climate.

The building's site has changed little, except for the replacement of the original adjacent livestock fences, sidewalks and parking surfaces. It stands in a heterogeneous setting and is one of the oldest, largest and most architecturally interesting of the group. With the exception of the neighbouring Stores Building (Building #16, FHBRO Building Report 89-12), most of the other structures on the station are more utilitarian in appearance.

Character Defining Elements
Much of the building's architectural character resides in the relatively unchanged nature of its barn design, with its characteristic pointed arch roof, low walls, and rectangular plan. The laminated timber truss construction of its roof did not require internal supporting posts, and provided a large unencumbered storage capacity. The barn's conversion to a laboratory in 1969-70 resulted in substantial alteration to its interior, and to many of its openings.

The barn is one of two post-World War II buildings on the site, both of which have traditional farm building features and establish the Research Station's barnyard character. It would be important to maintain the relationship of the building to its site and to other adjacent buildings such as the Stores Building as the station is developed in future.