|Formerly:||Film Exchange Building|
|Address:||361 Hargrave Street|
The Film Exchange Building was designed in the Chicago School style, prevalent in North America’s downtowns from 1905 to the 1930s. Taking its name from a group of Illinois architects of the 1880s and 1890s, the style grew from the heavy Richardsonian Romanesque warehouses of the period. The new style took the technological advances in construction – steel framing and reinforced concrete – and looked to find new expression for these skyscrapers.
The structures were divided into three distinct zones, mimicking a classical column. The ground floor or base was usually given to large glass display windows and a flourish of ornamentation. The capital of the column was created by a heavily embellished top floor, often with an overstated entablature. The floors in between created the body of the column and usually were treated with more subdued ornamentation. Because the walls were no longer load-bearing, window areas were expanded, increasing interior ventilation and illumination. Window divisions were scaled down, including the familiar three-panes ‘Chicago window’ – a large fixed pane framed by narrower, movable side-lights.
This building, because of its specialized function, had to comply with new city regulations and therefore had some unusual features. The storage of motion picture film had, from the earliest time, been a source of consternation for those within the industry and for insurance companies and city officials across the continent. The problem was the highly flammable nature of the nitrate film. It wasn’t until 1923 with the introduction of cellulose acetate film that the hazard of fire was minimized.
Source:City of Winnipeg