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 window 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
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.