The Union Bank Building is not a particularly tall building, it is just 10 floors, but it does have the distinction of being the oldest skyscraper in Canada. It is located in the Exchange District of Winnipeg, Canada. It was originally built for the Union Bank, which is where the name comes from, but now has different tenants. The building is an extremely important part of the architectural history of Canada and it is for this reason that it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1996. Let’s find out who designed this important building.
Who designed the Union Bank Building?
The architects for this project were Frank Darling and John Andrew Pearson, who were two of the best architects in Canada at the time. The design featured a network of reinforced concrete and steel, which was cutting edge skyscraper design for the time. This network of steel and concrete supported the brick and terracotta walls and was much more efficient than the old system of wooden beams and posts or masonry. This construction method became the standard for skyscrapers in Canada.
The construction was completed by George A. Fuller Company and Thompson and Starret and Company, which were both New York construction firms. Construction began in 1903 and was finished by 1904 for the opening in November. The special frame was constructed by Dominion Bridge of Montreal and the brickwork came from Lac du Bonnet brickworks. At the time of construction the building cost $420,000.
Did you know?
The Royal Bank of Canada, who had overtaken the Union Bank, remained in the building until 1992. New tenants didn’t arrive until 18 years later when a massive renovation project began on the building. This cost of this renovation is estimated to be $34 million.
At the time it was finished it was the tallest building in Winnipeg.