Birks Building

With its curved front facade and location on a busy downtown corner, the Birks Building is a prominent example of early Modern classicism.

This elegant building was designed by Montreal architects Nobbs and Hyde with local help from Cecil Burgess. The four storey, flat roofed building features large storefront windows and a unique curved front corner and cantilevered roof in deference to its prominent corner location. It is detailed with white and beige facing bricks, green and white marble and bronze ornamentation. The design was similar to other Birks buildings built across Canada, although Edmonton’s is one of only two to survive.

Birks Jewellery was founded in Montreal in 1879, and it began expanding across Canada around the turn of the twentieth century. In 1929, Henry Birks and Sons opened their store in Edmonton in the building that still bears their name. At the time of its construction, Birks company policy was to reserve most of the office space in the upper floors for medical and dental offices, thus the building was designed in consultation with Edmonton’s medical professionals. As a result, the building contained a compressed air system and the owners held long term leases  with dentists and doctors. The fourth floor was home to CJCA Radio from 1934 to 1973, and their memorable Flying Tiger sign, with a moving tail and humongous glasses, was a local landmark. The building now has street level retail space with offices on the upper floors. Its conspicuous location on the corner of Jasper Avenue and 104 Street makes it an anchor for Edmonton’s historic Warehouse District.

Details

Type

Commercial

Designation Status

No Historic Recognition

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Year Built

1929

Architectural Styles

Modern

Character Defining Elements

Brick cladding , Curved facade , Decorative brick , Flat roof , Frieze , Mosaic tile , Polished stone , Rectangular footprint , Smooth stone , String course , Three storeys or more

Gallery

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