Tag Archives: buff brick

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Five

Brick Italianate House, Ninga, MB

 

Buff Brick, Ninga

 

Reid Dickie

My summer travels took me to places I’d never been before, like Ninga, Manitoba. Not ninja, Ninga, apparently the Chippewa word for mother.

This lonesome seemingly deserted buff brick house caught my attention and I took one picture of it, the one above. So everything I say is based on seeing this one elevation.

The roofline is the foremost Italianate feature. Its low pitch hip jousted by the sweet angles of the matching gables evokes a smooth and gentle, almost erotic rhythm against the prairie sky. It sings!

The under-eave colour appears to have been reddish brown, which would have contrasted richly with the pale buff brick and feel right at home under the milky brown of the shingles. The pairs of tall windows under the gables have simple brick headers. The bricks overall are laid in common running bond.

The main floor conveys several elements of Italianate style such as bay windows  It appears to have two of them but closer inspection reveals the one on the left of brick construction is incorporated into the body of the house and features the main entrance.  The one on the right is a wooden addition, a back porch painted in trim colour.  The bays are connected by a narrow but elegant verandah.

Oh, the verandah: the brackets are a contrasting green to the reddish trim. The low pitch of the roof in sighing reverence to Ninga, for surethe roofline above and the trio of turned squared-away pillars doing their important work slowly succumb to the creep of the foliage, already obscuring the stairs and entwining the bench against the wall. Although the house remains in reasonably good appearance, the straggling strands of long-dead Christmas lights and the invading overgrowth herald its tomorrow, its future tangled in the vines and vicissitudes that encroach on its presence, that threaten its being. Only the prairie wind can determine how apt this all is.

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage

St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church, La Salle, MB

Reid Dickie

Towering above all else, including the cottonwood trees in the little French community of La Salle, MB, south of Winnipeg, stands St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church. Representing the strong faith of the local population for over 100 years, this masterfully achieved edifice of buff brick possesses an inspiring plethora of design details on every facade.

The form of the large church is transept – shape of the cross – with an elaborate front facade that evokes order and ascension climbing to a slim bell tower surmounted by a shimmery steeple.

Let’s take a close look at the front facade. The most striking feature is its comfortable symmetry, not a line out of place, not a wasted brick, just upward sweeping motion. 

The brickwork is marvellous. There are three arcades (rows of arches), each with five arches, formed by the brick design, two are sloping downward under the roof eaves and the centre spans the front of the entrance pavilion just below its cornice. The smooth corbelling (layering of bricks) that forms the arcades is superb, creating interesting shadow and light combinations.

As with the arcades, all openings in the building are arched. The front entry, the window above with its trio of slender windows under a circular focus and the openings in the bell tower are all arched. All openings have a limestone keystone at the apex. The keystones on the front have small tablatures.

On the ends of the transepts there is another series of corbelled arcades, thirteen arches under the eaves and above large round windows with spoke tracery. All around the place under the eaves is a sweet bit of corbelling that adds to the ornate sensibility of the church.

In true heritage geek parlance, the bell tower/steeple is a honey! Eight arched openings, each keystoned with a scroll and separated by square columns and capitals, create the still-inhabited bell tower. Above the bell tower a short eight-sided dome supports the steeply pitched octagonal steeple that ends with a round pinnacle and a metal cross spire.

La Salle, MB is located south of Winnipeg on Provincial Road 247 a few kms west of Hwy #75.

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Heritage Houses – Three Bricks in Portage la Prairie

Reid Dickie

These three fine brick houses sit on the 600 block of Saskatchewan Avenue, the main drag of Portage la Prairie, MB. Although modest and similar in many ways, each has its own distinctive qualities.

First I’ll mention the qualities all three houses share. Each has steeply pitched roofs on flaring gables and a rectangular dormer with steep roof. The fenestration (window positions) is the same on all three houses with brick sunbursts above the two front windows. All are built of the same buff brick, which on two of the houses, including this one, is laid in American bond, that is, every sixth row shows the header (end) of the brick rather than the stretcher (side of the brick). All have fish scale shingles on the large front facade gable, limestone lintels under the front windows and attractive, appropriate shutters. The floor plans are extremely similar. All front entrances are protected by roof.

What distinguishes this house is the additions, mostly sympathetic, that have been made at the rear. The same colour of brick and trim was used and detracts little from the original house. The building is now occupied by an insurance company.

This is the most distinctive of the three houses and has many design features that set it apart from its neighbours. It has a substantial foundation which the other two lack. This results in the attractive stairs onto the porch, which is rounded with a fine contrasting dentil just under the eave. Contrasting columns support the porch roof and the corners sport quoins similar to the foundation material. This house is the exception to American bond. This building features standard running bond, that is, all bricks were laid end to end. It is currently a hair salon.

This is the only house of the three that is still used as a residence. The most obvious difference is the reversed design inside and out but the materials remain the same. American bond brickwork was used here as in the first house. The dormer roof is different from the other two. Because the building is a home, it has a warmer feel to it.

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Manitoba Heritage House

Reid Dickie

Italianate House, 135 Hamilton Street, Neepawa, MB

Local contractors Jones and Fusee constructed this fine Italianate house in Neepawa in 1900. It was built for J. H. Davidson, the manager of the flour mill, and his wife Dr. Mary Davidson, Neepawa’s first female physician. Although the main floor porch has been altered, the balance of the pile retains many original features. Notice the delicate iron cresting on the roofs. There are matching Palladian windows on the east and west dormers of the house, which is built of locally made buff brick. The colour scheme of the house is similar to the original popular colours of the time.

 The second floor central bay sports a flamboyant gable with a sweeping curve, bull’s-eye window with floral motif in blue and white glass, oversized brackets and fish scale shingling. Neepawa has at least three other houses whose architecture has Italianate influence but this house is the style’s finest example in town.

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Manitoba Heritage House

Reid Dickie

Burchill House, 404 11th & Louise, Brandon, MB

         Quiet eloquence, Queen Anne style is once again represented in this handsome brick house, one of three fine homes that grace this Brandon intersection. Built in 1905 for William Burchill, co-owner of Burchill and Howie Meat Market in the Burchill Block on Rosser Avenue, its roofline is distinctive with its steep hipped roof descending into the rounded porch cut with an impressive dormer and small balcony. The semi-circular window beneath the clipped gable end adds further visual interest. Every opening has a sunburst header. This house has a twin at 322 11th Street in Brandon.

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Manitoba Heritage House

Two-storey buff brick,  Roland, MB

         Boy, did I catch the right light on this Queen Anne style beauty! The detailing is rich and varied on this old house. Let‘s start at the top. The large gabled dormer on the front has dark brown shingles under the eave giving a perfect background to the elaborate and delicate bargeboard at the gable end. The medium pitched roof works wonders with the rest of the mass. On the front and sunny side of the house, the embellishments are many. Every opening has a brick label over it dripping with pendants. It appears there was a peaked porch over the door which would have shielded the oval window next to the door which is oddly missing its keystone. It matches the oval window between the second floor windows with its short spokes. The quoins on the corners are captured well here by the sunlight and shadow. On the shady side the window decoration is continued as are the quoins and the brick detailing. Overall brickwork is standard running bond. The main floor dissolves in the green hedge.

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12 MANITOBA CHURCHES

12 MANITOBA CHURCHES

DAY TEN

St. Paul’s United Church, Souris, MB

          Built in 1907, this huge buff brick church stands regally at a street corner. The enormous tower with a castellated parapet, lively corbelling and tiered buttresses is well proportioned to the massive body of the place and contributes greatly to the vertical orientation of the structure. It rests on a fieldstone foundation that extends about five feet above ground. Two large parapet gables and several smaller ones adorn its roofline, a major chimney with Gothic details is a solid feature and the slightly pointed openings increase its Gothic persuasion. The front window is over two storeys high.

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