Nutrition Building 59
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
(© Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food / Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Agroalimentaire, 1991.)
Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site, Ottawa, Ontario
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1898 to 1899
1913 to 1913
1924 to 1924
1948 to 1948
Event, Person, Organization:
Department of Public Works under the direction of Thomas Fuller
Central Experimental Farm (Building No. 59)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Nutrition Building is located on landscaped grounds in a pastoral setting at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The L-shaped, brick building has a steeply-pitched hip roof, enlivened with triangular and shed dormers, and by prominent masonry chimneys. A boxed cornice with modillions and narrow frieze board accentuate the horizontal lines of the building. Multi-paned windows reflect the interior layout and contribute to the balanced composition of the elevations. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Nutrition Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Nutrition Building is closely associated with the development of the Experimental Farm system in Canada. In accordance with its 1886 mandate to introduce new and profitable farming methods to Canada, a Chemistry Division, one of the four original divisions, was established. On its completion in 1899, all the experimental laboratories, which serviced the various divisions of the farm, were contained in the Chemical Laboratory later named the Animal Nutrition Laboratory. The building is also closely associated with Frank T. Strutt, the Dominion Chemist from 1886 to 1932, who was awarded a prize from the American Society of Agronomy in 1929.
The Nutrition Building is valued for its good aesthetic design. The building is a well-preserved example of the sturdy, functional type of building, characteristic of the first thirty years of the Central Experimental Farm’s history. The interior layout has been reworked to accommodate changing needs and is sympathetic to the original layout and patterns of circulation. Good craftsmanship and materials are evidenced in the masonry work and wood details such as the boxed cornice with modillions and narrow frieze board.
The Nutrition Building reinforces the ‘gardenesque’ character of its pastoral setting at the Central Experimental Farm.
Sources: Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 91-170; Nutrition Building, Building 59, Central Experimental Farm. Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 91-170.
The following character-defining elements of the Nutrition Building should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, good functional design and good materials and
craftsmanship, for example: the L-shaped massing that consists of a rectangular building with a one-storey brick addition and a frame addition; the steeply-pitched hip roof, with triangular and shed dormers, and projecting masonry chimneys; the boxed cornice with modillions and narrow frieze board; the formal west entrance defined by a semi-circular masonry arch and accessed by exterior stairs, and the secondary entrance on the south elevation; the smooth red brick walls set on a well defined rock-faced limestone basement storey and the wood elements such as the doors and windows; the arrangement of multiple-pane windows that reflect the interior layout and contribute to the balanced composition of the elevations; the surviving interior layout and patterns of circulation.
The manner in which the Nutrition Building reinforces the ‘gardenesque’ character of its pastoral setting at the Central Experimental Farm (CEF), as evidenced by: its scale, massing, roof profile and materials, which harmonize with the pastoral, semi- rural setting of this part of the CEF.
Heritage Character Statement
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 Nutrition Building was built in 1898-1899 as the Chemical Laboratory. The plans were prepared by the Chief Architect's staff of the Department of Public Works, under the direction of Thomas Fuller. The building was originally a simple rectangle. In 1913 a large wing was added to the east side of the building. In 1924, another large addition was constructed on the north side of the original building creating an L-shaped building. A one-storey brick addition was built around 1948, and another one-storey frame addition was added in the 1950s. The building is owned by Agriculture Canada. See FHBRO Building Report 91-170.
Reasons for Designation
The Nutrition Building was designated Recognized because of its historical association, its architectural and environmental significance.
The Nutrition Building is closely associated with the development of the Experimental Farms system in Canada. In accordance with its 1886 mandate to introduce new and profitable farming methods to Canada, a Chemistry Division, one of the four original divisions, was established in 1886. On its completion in 1899, all the experimental laboratories which serviced the various divisions of the farm were contained in the Chemical Laboratory (later named the Animal Nutrition Laboratory).
This building is closely associated with Frank T. Shutt, the Dominion Chemist from 1886 to 1932, who was awarded a prize from the American Society of Agronomy in 1929.
The Nutrition Building is a well-preserved example of the sturdy, functional type of building characteristic of the first thirty years of the CEF's history. The grounds of the building exhibit a "gardenesque landscape," a landscape style popular in the late 19th century. The building merges well into the natural landscape and the pastoral, semi-rural setting of this part of the CEF.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Nutrition Building resides in the massing, proportions, architectural details and materials of the 1898-1899 building and the 1913, 1924 and 1948 additions. The heritage character also lies in the relationship of the building to its setting.
The building consists of a smooth red brick basically rectangular mass set on a well defined rock-faced limestone basement storey, and topped with a steeply pitched hip roof. Although numerous additions more than tripled the size of the original building, the additions were designed in a manner sympathetic to the original character of the exterior.
The roof is enlivened by triangular and shed dormers, and by prominent masonry chimneys. A boxed cornice with modillions and narrow frieze board accentuate the horizontal lines of the building. The formal west entrance is defined by a semi-circular masonry arch and is reached by exterior stairs. A secondary entrance is located on the south elevation. Multi-paned windows reflect the interior layout and contribute to the balanced composition of the elevations. Any changes in building use should attempt to retain the existing pattern of openings and access.
Care should be taken in maintaining the exterior finishes. The masonry should be regularly inspected. Major maintenance should be done by qualified conservators, using appropriate materials such as soft mortar, and proper repair and repointing techniques. Cleaning should be done only if required for conservation, and then with the least abrasive approach possible. Wood elements should be repaired rather than replaced, and repainted on a regular basis. Historic finish analysis can be used to determine the original colour scheme. The original doors should be preserved and repaired as required. Reinstatement of multi-paned wooden windows inspired from the original design would greatly enhance the aesthetic qualities of the building.
While interior spaces have been reworked many times in response to changing needs and demands it would be appropriate to identify any surviving interior layout and patterns of circulation, and incorporate these in any interior refurbishing. It would be desirable to create some continuity between the exterior and interior in terms of quality of finishes.
The landscape around the building which survives today is indicative of the "gardenesque landscape" style. Every effort should be made to maintain the relationship of the building to its site through the retention of the circular drive and the planting plan. Introduction of any new elements should respect the historic layout.