Travels with Larry: Langevin Block

Travels with Larry: Langevin Block
31 Oct 2017

Located directly across from the Centre Block on the other side of Wellington Street is the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council of Canada, housed in what was previously known as the Langevin Block in Ottawa, Canada.

When construction of the building was completed in 1889, it was the first federal government building outside of the Parliament Hill precinct. It also occupies a prominent position among a number of high profile government, art and commemorative structures, such as the National War Memorial, the National Arts Centre, the Rideau Canal, and the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel.  A common feature for many of these structures is copper, either as roofing, cladding or the medium that sculptures are fabricated from.

The Langevin Block was designed by Thomas Fuller, the chief architect of the Department of Public Works, in a modified version of the Second Empire Style, and was named for Sir Hector Langevin, a Father of Confederation and Minister of Public Works during the time of the construction.

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The structure is topped with an impressive copper batten seam mansard roof and many decorative elements, such as ornate wreaths, stamped sheet roof crestings, finials, cartouche, cornices and decorative copper hip covers. As well, the roof underwent a major restoration around 20 years ago as part of a major refurbishment, and as you can see now, it has patinated to a dark brown shade, typical for the Ottawa region, especially for steeper slope installations of this type.

The copper roof should provide decades, if not centuries, of performance and will evolve slowly into a greenish shade as it ages and protects the underlying material.

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