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100 Laurier East, previously named the Juniorat du Sacré-Coeur, Built in 1893-94, is the oldest building on the University of Ottawa campus. It is located at the corner of Laurier Avenue and Cumberland Street, just a short walk away from the Rideau Canal. The building is distinguished by its stone architecture, covered in vines, and resembles a fortified castle. Most noticeable, is the grand staircase leading up to the main doors of the building – seen in many photographs, appearing to be the original stairs for the Cumberland entrance. The huge cross that used to dominate the top of the building has since been taken down, leaving only small references to the buildings religious history as the Juniorat du Sacré-Coeur. The property now houses the university’s department of Visual Arts.
Oblates of Mary Immaculate
The congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was formed to repair the havoc caused by the French Revolution. Recruiting is made by juniorates (like the Juniorat du Sacré-Coeur), novitiates and scholasticates. The Oblates of Notre Dame de Lumières near Avignon founded the first establishment of this description in 1841, and their example, soon followed by the Jesuit Fathers at Avignon, became widely adopted in France. The congregation has at present thirteen juniorates with one still situated in Ottawa.
It was common for Canadian architects to travel, study, and work in other countries and it was also increasingly common for Canadians to hire foreign architects. This meant that many architectural styles found in Canada were developed elsewhere. The dominant architectural style for churches and universities, at the time, was Gothic Revival. The 100 Laurier East building is a mix-and-match example of Canadian architects finding inspiration from the new and reviving ideas from the past. This building has walls that are 60 inches thick and turrets in relief. Featured under the Laurier Avenue entrance staircase is an insignia, in the railing, featuring JSC (Juniorat du Sacré-Coeur). Original detailing like this can be seen all around the exterior of the building, including: stone-carved abbreviations of O.M.I. (Oblates of Mary Immaculate), many stone-relief crosses, religious detailing and an empty niche in the façade where the statue of the Sacred heart would have been located in 1893.
History of the building
The Juniorat du Sacré-Coeur offered a classical education for young men who wished to pursue a religious life and join the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Students, along with their professors, lived in the building where about 155 courses were given. In 1937, the increasing number of students in the Juniorat forced an expansion to be built. In 1970, this site became property of the university of Ottawa, acquired at a cost of $1,120,900.
The building currently contains a woodshop, sculpture room, digital editing facility, MFA studios, classrooms, a fourth-year studio, an art supply store, a photography studio, a dark room, equipment rental area and a student-run gallery called Gallery 115. It also holds offices for the faculty of visual arts department professors and staff.
The department of visual arts includes: a Major in Visual Arts program, Major and Minor in History and Theory of Art program, a Bachelor of Fine Arts program and a Master of Fine Arts program. The MFA founded in 2007 by professor Penny Cousineau-Levine and has already produced finalists for the prestigious national RBC Painting Competition – Andrew Morrow, Amy Schissel, Colin Dorward and Jessica Bell.
100 Laurier East has recently seen extensive renovations that added seven new private studio spaces for the MFA students, bringing the total number up to fourteen. While these changes were necessary to meet the needs of students and the department – they represented a major challenge. Even the most limited renovation of a historic building can be a delicate undertaking, in terms of heritage conservation. Each studio includes one of the many windows that 100 Laurier has to offer, that allow in natural light. Access to this natural lighting is a crucial advantage to having the fine arts programs in this building as opposed to another.
Gallery 115 is located on the main floor of 100 Laurier. It is a student-run gallery space that gives students the opportunity to work within a gallery setting, right on site. It provides graduate and undergraduate students a chance to develop curatorial and administrative skills, as well as, display their own art pieces. In co-operation with the University of Ottawa, the Gallery operates under a democratic structure representing many students enrolled in various programs, including Visual Arts, Art History and Art Administration.
- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11184b.htm "Oblates of Mary Immaculate." New Advent. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- http://www.expressottawa.ca/Opinion/Chroniques/2012-06-27/article-3018323/Le-plus-ancien-pavillon-de-l%26rsquo%3BUniversite-d%26rsquo%3BOttawa/1 "Oldest Building, University of Ottawa." L'Express. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/music/u-of-o-expands-its-precocious-mfa-program "UofO Expands MFA Program." Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- http://tabaret.uottawa.ca/en/content/training-high-calibre-artists "Renovations to the Department of Visual Arts." Tabaret, Univerisity of Ottawa. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- http://www.vasaaeav.com/#!gallery/c1hmr "Gallery 115." VASA. Retrieved October 14, 2014.