Description of Historic Place
A modern design, the Government of Canada Building in Kitchener is located two blocks east of the downtown area. Simple, interlocking, geometric forms, strip glazing, flat polished materials and minimal detailing characterize the structure. Entrances and stairwells provide vertical emphasis while horizontal proportions and a stepped back second floor provide contrast and balance. On the principal façade smooth, light, limestone veneer acts as counterpoint to black spandrel panels. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Government of Canada Building in Kitchener is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Government of Canada Building in Kitchener is associated with increased federal spending on Taxation Centres during the 1950s. The structure serves as an illustration of the expansion of federal government services to regional centres, and is an example of the development of the community in Kitchener during the 1950s.
Valued for its good aesthetics, the Government of Canada Building in Kitchener is a good example of modern design with horizontal expression and massing, and an asymmetrical composition. Horizontal emphasis created by windows, and the interplay of projecting and receding planes created by the band of first floor windows are of note. The simplification of form, minimal detailing and use of quality materials in a limited range contributes to the early 1950s design. This functional building demonstrates very good use of craftsmanship and materials such as the smooth faced, stack bonded, limestone veneer.
The Government of Canada Building in Kitchener maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and reinforces the business district of Kitchener where it is a familiar local landmark.
Marilyn Armstrong-Reynolds, Government of Canada Building, 166 Frederick Street, Kitchener, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 98-044; Government of Canada Building (GOCB), 166 Frederick Street, Kitchener, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 98-044.
The character-defining elements of the Government of Canada Building in Kitchener should be respected.
Its modern design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the two-storey, flat roofed, rectangular massing consisting of interlocking, geometric forms;
-the smooth faced, stack bonded, light limestone veneer on the exterior of the principal facades, and grey coloured brick on the rear façade;
-the flat, polished materials that include black spandrel panels;
-the size shape and placement of the windows;
-the interior layout in the ground floor rectangular plan, and the U-plan of the second-storey;
-the interior flooring materials of marble in the entrance vestibule, lobbies, stairs and thresholds, terrazzo in the public spaces, and linoleum and hardwood flooring in the working spaces.
The manner in which the Government of Canada Building maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the commercial centre of Kitchener and is a prominent city landmark, as evidenced by:
-its scale, and stone and bronze materials that complement the other downtown buildings;
-its visibility and familiarity given its prominent location and ongoing use as a post office and federal offices make it a well-known building in the area.