Fieldstone Mansard Roof House, 66 Third Avenue SE, Minnedosa, MB
Among the collection of wonderful fieldstone buildings in Minnedosa stands this fine example of Second Empire architecture adapted to prairie needs. Commonly used for public buildings in Canada, especially those built by the Federal Department of Public Works in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Second Empire architecture was adopted by the Roman Catholic church and used for its schools and convents well into the 20th century. Built about 1896 from local fieldstone and first owned by Charles Currie, the house sports many well-defined details of the style. The red mansard roof dominates the house with the chimney poking up out of the top and tall dormers on all four sides. The dormers have pediment roofs with delightful sunburst detailing. The little house has two full bay windows with the street side bay featuring tall windows on all three sides. The scrolled brackets under the eaves are painted in two colours, a characteristic which complements the mottled colours of the fieldstones. Situated on a corner, the house gives the impression of stability and conveys a sense of its own history.
On my recent travels in southwestern Manitoba I found two lovely examples of mansard roof houses, both have an additional distinctive feature. The first house, located on a residential corner in Boissevain, MB, is built of fieldstones with red brick accents. Each dormer has a small shed roof over it. The little brackets under the eaves have a pleasant appeal.
The other mansard roof house is in Waskada, MB and its construction is of formed cement blocks. This technique was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s and meant each block was made on-site in a press with various textures available for the face of the block. You can see the top row of blocks has a different texture than the rest of the blocks below it. This house has a much larger second floor with more elaborate dormers, each with a little pediment roof and brackets. The steepness of the roof pitch is accentuated by a swoop creating concave corners. This makes it appear as if the second floor is larger than the first giving the place an unusual massing.
Mansard Roof House, Cypress River, MB
This fine example of a mansard roof house sits prominently on a street corner in Cypress River, MB. The mansard roof is denoted by the different slopes of the roof with the lower slope steeper than the upper slope. This little house is loaded with detail! The massing is solid and practical with two bay windows, both featuring decorative coloured glass framing panes surrounded by wooden block and column design. Each projecting bay has three windows, all have the glass detailing and a simple but attractive design above the foundation, which I suspect was painted black. Mansards usually sport large dormers on each face of the roof. The coloured glass is continued around the upper portion of the rounded dormer windows which are hooded, have flares at the corners and extend above the bays on two sides. Instead of a bay window but complimenting the arched dormers, the plain side features a small rectangular window and a round bull’s-eye window. Under the eaves is a broken beltcourse of black panels between the delicately detailed brackets that add credence and visual interest by using the high contrast black and white colour scheme. Black and white is frequently seen on mansard roof houses, affording the opportunity to be striking yet precious.
One-and-a-Half Storey, Empress Avenue, Altamont, MB
This little one and a half storey gem, next to the United Church, is in glowing condition with its eye-catching red shingles, double clipped gable roof and matching entrance roof. The arch and brackets below the entrance and the mix of stucco and roof textures add unknown pleasures. Its fenestration and blind position suggest the house is winking at you. Wink back.
Mansard roof, next to St. Felix Church, Dunrea, MB
This classic example of a square Mansard-roofed house with added wraparound rooms has tasteful dormers and colour combination. Mansard style afford use of garrets as living space and the tall dormered windows ensure plenty of light at all times of day. The subtle combination of colours sets off the house among mature trees and the yawning prairie just beyond.
Italianate House, 103-2nd St NE, Portage La Prairie, MB
Italianate is one of my favourite styles for houses and public buildings. This fine example, built around 1889, richly demonstrates the style with its low pitched roof, bay window with shallow roof, brackets in two sizes and intermittently paired, running bond brickwork and effective quoins. The dropdead awesome feature is the unique brickwork used to make the shaped details of the window heads. The hood mouldings over the windows are excellent with the single brick pendant on either side. The pendant is repeated at the end of the heavy paired wooden brackets under the eaves. The place has a stalwart aura, solid and dependable despite its dreadful purple colour.