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Winnipeg School Division Number One Administration Building

Address:1577 Wall Street
Use:Offices
Original Use:Offices
Constructed:1960-61
Architects:Waisman Ross & Associates

More Information

A vibrant assemblage of angled roof-lines, slender strips of window, and red brick and stucco wall, the Winnipeg School Division Number One Administration Building is a striking presence at the intersection of Wall Street and Notre Dame Avenue. The building was conceived in 1960. At this time an urgent need for expanded administrative space reached a tipping point – a requirement related to the burgeoning size of Winnipeg’s student population during the post-war “Baby Boom” period. The pressing nature of this demand for office was serious enough that this building’s authorization came despite serious efforts to locate a new school division facility within a new Winnipeg City Hall, putting it within Winnipeg’s core area, as had been true of the previous school division offices at 136 Ellen Street. Ongoing debate regarding the site and nature of the new city hall, however, meant that any new school division space within this such a civic block would be slow in coming. Indeed, though a referendum for a new city hall had occurred in the 1950s, Winnipeg’s Civic Centre was completed only in 1964. Ultimately, the Wall Street and Notre Dame Avenue location, though outside Winnipeg’s downtown, placed the School Division headquarters near the geographic centre of their territory of supervisory purview.

The architects of the Winnipeg School Division Number One Administration Building were the firm of Waisman Ross & Associates. This office had already become known as local pioneers in the realm of modernist design. Here the firm drew upon the extant language of Winnipeg school design – including that of the neighbouring Tec-Voc High School, on who’s grounds the administrative building rose – in their selection of red brick cladding. Lending a sense of importance was the height of the building, its two-storey rise exaggerated through the use of vertical window forms and a projecting, monopitch roof tower. A large staircase furthered this impressive effect; a concrete podium half-way up this flight remains unfilled with a planned-for piece of public art. Subtle aesthetic details which lend the building a sense of elegance include sheltered downspouts flush with the structure’s brick walls and the fusion of a red-brick chimney into the rear façade. Though asymmetrical, 1577 Wall Street possesses a loose sense of symmetry is conveyed though the arrangement of its modernist design.

In 1960 the estimated cost for the school division’s administration office building was $500,000. Construction began in November of that year, with the project completed in 1961. Among the spaces inside were a basement with 28,500 square feet of floor space, administration offices for the school division, a board room for trustees, several meeting rooms and an office for the school architect.

Design Characteristics

Suburb:West End, Sargent Park
  • Angled roof-lines
  • Slender strip window
  • Red brick and stucco cladding
  • Projecting monopitch roof tower
  • Concrete podium alongside staircase
  • Loose sense of symmetry

Sources

  • “Building Of Board Office To Begin In November.” Winnipeg Free Press. 22 October 1960.

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