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Designing the Legislature

Alberta's Legislature upon completion Edward Hopkins of Calgary submitted the first design for Alberta's Legislature in 1906.  Based too closely on plans for the  British Columbia Legislature, it was rejected, and in 1907 A.M. Jeffers replaced Hopkins as Provincial Architect.  Jeffers' plans also caused controversy because of their similarity to capitol buildings in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Rhode Island.  Architectural historians have also noted a strong resemblance between the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba legislatures: all built at about the same time in the Beaux-Arts style.

Beaux-Arts buildings are characterized by a large central dome, a  symmetrical plan, and door and The central domewindow openings decorated with arches or lintels.  The style was originally associated with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but it was also fashionable in North America between about 1895 and 1920.  Its use of Greek, Roman and Egyptian elements was considered particularly appropriate for public buildings as they suggested power, permanence, and tradition.

By the time the building opened, Jeffers' design was no longer controversial but a source of pride.  As the Edmonton Journal remarked:

There is no difference of opinion as to the wisdom of the expenditure which has provided the government of the province with quarters in keeping with the pretensions of Alberta.  Fifty years from now they should have historical associations that are well worthwhile.

 

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Allan Merrick Jeffers Designs Alberta Legislative Building
Allan Merrick Jeffers replaces Edward Hopkins as Alberta's provincial architect.
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