The power was out Thursday morning, so the students decided to take the day to prepare the written reports required for the program.
With no updates today, I’ll take this opportunity to write about some of the buildings being considered for the window art project and other spaces we’ve visited in the last two days.
The ground floor of the Cornwall Office Building has been divided into two available spaces, created from a former bank. Although people traffic is high along 11th and Scarth, there are some challenges to the Bank/Momentum space. The bank infrastructure (vault) is one stumbling block in bringing business back to that location. Momentum might suffer from infrastructure of a different kind as the picture below shows: the ped-way may separate potential customers from interacting with this store-front.
The double doors open on to a prime smoking area. The airy and large windows, which are not set too high for street browsers, run from the corner through the bank. There is a lot of visual potential in this space. One concern with sunlight could be degradation of artifacts.
Although it seems like a slam-dunk, there are a fair number of factors to accommodate when matching an appropriate project to this space.
The bank side is a much larger space. The far wall in this picture is towards the East, separating this area from Momentum.
Designed by famed architects Storey and Van Egmond, the Mitchell Building replaced ‘Peart hardware store’ on this site in 1929. Initially the plan was for a bank on the South side and a store on the North with a bakery in the rear (see citation link, pg 86 for a picture c 1930). The basement housed ‘National Billiards’ from the time of construction until the mid 1970s(1).
The City Downtown walking tour describes the facade as Art Moderne style. Architectural features include pilasters between second story windows, medallions above each window and a central parapet. In 1997 historically sensitive repairs were done to the second floor and outside facade.(2)
The Mitchell Building remains a very active place today with at least four users inside. The under-used, rough, basement has potential for the right kind of project as well. In an arts crawl event focused above ground in store fronts and upper floor spaces, a basement could provide a distinct space.
The Mitchell Building is a Municipal Heritage property.
The Somerset Block, from 1929, originally had twenty apartment units on the second floor. The main floor storefronts are much the same as when they were first built (3).
The large wrap-around windows and the compact nature of the inside could allow for in-depth, active spaces, visible from the street.
I recall how immediate the office space of the old travel agency was, as though you might bump into a desk as you walked along the sidewalk. The permeable nature of the building could create a very accommodating and interactive spot.
The Yaeger Block was built-in 1928 for Yaeger furs of Winnipeg. The original layout had eight apartments on the second floor. The Yaeger was designed by Reilly Warburton and Reilly and built by Poole Construction using Saskatchewan brick. The main architectural feature is the frieze above the second story windows featuring oak branches, beavers, and maple leaves (4)
There are some challenges with this site: the main floor of the building is currently used as storage for Vintage Vinyl down the road. The property owners are happy with this use at the moment. Another concern is the lack of activity in the western part of 11th Avenue. The grey, disconnected office space across the street tends to mirror the current emptiness of the Yaeger block in an unwelcome, frosty, synergy.
The Yaeger Block is on the municipal heritage holding bylaw which means any demolition or major changes are held for 60 days.
These are the spaces we’ve had a good look at so far. It would be fun to hear your thoughts: How would you activate these buildings again? What projects would you like to see?
Let us know in the comments
1 Ross Herrington, The Architectural Heritage of Storey and Van Egmond: A Preliminary Assessment Report for Saskatchewan Culture, Youth and Recreation, (Regina: Government of Saskatchewan, 2004) http://www.tpcs.gov.sk.ca/StoreyVanEgmond [online] 86-87
2 Regina Heritage Walking Tours: Eight Self-Guilded Tours of Regina’s Built History, 4th Ed, (Regina: City of Regina 2007) http://www.regina.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=581 [online] 86
3 Edward Willett, Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw: Ten Walks to Points of Historical Architectural Interest (Calgary: Red Deer Press, 2008) 44.
4 Regina Heritage Walking Tours: Eight Self-Guilded Tours of Regina’s Built History, 4th Ed, (Regina: City of Regina 2007) http://www.regina.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=581 [online] 90