It was 2005 when Darrel Babuk first noticed the Hanna Roundhouse, formerly the Canadian Northern Railway Roundhouse, in a video. Familiar with the building and site, he thought that it had been demolished several years previous, but obviously not. Through his follow up with the Heritage Editor of the Calgary Herald, contact with the owner, being contacted by the Town of Hanna, and subsequently being introduced to the new owner in 2009, Boreas Architecture & Civic Design, Inc was contracted by the Hanna Roundhouse Society to conduct this Historic Building Condition Assessment in 2014. Our involvement with this project didn’t stop there.
In 2009, as the Hanna Roundhouse Society was being formed, Babuk Presentations worked pro bono with the Society to create an on-line exhibit describing the history of railroad roundhouses, an exhibit which organized involvement from heritage groups in eastern and western Canada, and from the US Midwest; bringing the Hanna Roundhouse to their attention. This on-line exhibit was used to galvanize community support for the Roundhouse during the 2009 Aviva Insurance Community Fund Campaign. Further, this exhibit was presented in a slideshow format by Darrel Babuk to various groups around Chicago, including the prestigious Oak Park Architectural League’s Annual Members’ Show. Darrel Babuk also organized several presentations to promote awareness of the Hanna Roundhouse to a Chicago audience, by presenting programs themed around the Hanna Roundhouse as part of “Great Chicago Places and Spaces”, a program of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Office. For this latter presentation, Babuk Presentations produced a booklet “Of Round Houses and Soaring Towers”.
Upon the establishment of the Edmonton office of Boreas Architecture & Civic Design, Inc, Darrel Babuk participated in several meetings of the Hanna Roundhouse Society.
Boreas Architecture & Civic Design, Inc. prepared and filed the application to designate the Canadian Northern Railway Roundhouse in Hanna as a Provincial Historic Site in February 2013. Simultaneously, Boreas identified a matching funds grant program from Alberta Culture that would fund an Historic Building Condition Assessment. Through discussions Boreas held with Alberta Culture, it was noted that the roundhouse’s turntable may be eligible for assessment under a separate funding grant that addressed Heritage Transportation Artifacts. Working with the Hanna Roundhouse Society, Boreas developed a scope of work for an Historic Building Condition Assessment of the Roundhouse. A strategy was developed to exclude the turntable from the Building Assessment, so as to increase potential funds available for assessments. From here, Boreas identified and screened appropriate consultants for the Historic Building Condition Assessment. Boreas prepared and submitted an application for a matching funds grant to Alberta Culture and from the Edmonton office, kept track of its progress, and progress of the Designation Application.
Immediately upon grant award, Boreas and its consulting team conducted an assessment of the Roundhouse precinct: the repair bays, the boiler house, ruins of a previously collapsed addition and of the site. This report investigated the history of the Hanna Roundhouse and site, analyzed and assessed the physical condition of the systems that constitute the Roundhouse. The Assessment identified potential construction budgets and organized them in such a way as to create a four year capital plan that would coordinate with the Society’s fundraising. Further, the assessment identified potential archaeological sites around the Roundhouse, and evaluated potential development strategies for the Roundhouse to become a public site.
Boreas Architecture & Civic Design, Inc. presented its Historic Building Condition Assessment to the Hanna Roundhouse Society and community in September, 2014.