Cityscape always pictures the most prominent regions of a particular city with the architecture in an abstract format and often backgrounds of paintings or portraits. The cityscape of Regina is what we’ll indulge in in the article. The city of Regina is the capital of Saskatchewan province in Canada and a commercial center for the southern part of the province. Regina has a grid planning with the ring roads circling from Coronation Park in the North to Wascana Center in the South along the eastern part of the city. The Canadian railroads, highways, and major airports serve the city for the commute. Regina was called Pile O’Bones, as it developed as a hunter’s camp after leaving behind bones of buffalo.

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Regina Cityscape_©flyeia

Architecture of Regina

Regina has influences of European and American styles in architecture but seemingly a brief impact on their settlement. The architecture took shape in four stages of the 20th century, namely, Beginning (Pre-1912), Early Years (1912 to 1945), Post War Regeneration (1945 to 1965), and Evolution to Modern scale and design (1965 to 2011). During the first phase, the buildings were finely designed and constructed by architects, engineers, contractors, carpenters, stonemasons, bricklayers, or anyone who wanted to build without any minimal standards or controls. Progressing towards the second phase, a formal association of architects was found and restricted the number of architects practicing with the right education and credentials acquired. The structures in this phase were usually framed construction, and the public buildings were relatively smaller in scale. Post war, materials such as aluminum and plastic from the military were incorporated as building materials introducing the Art Deco style and bringing down the classical style. Modernization in the fourth phase brought down many old historic buildings and introduced skyscrapers and the urge to touch greater heights became the new trend. The box buildings and typical exterior facade boasted the cityscape of Regina.

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Regina History_©Wikipedia

The Lost City of Regina

The historic buildings faded away during the 1940s to 1970s due to the impact of modernization. The warehouse district in the North was the industrial center in Regina and was familiar for its freight services; but is now redeveloped to house shopping, restaurant, and residences. The old Post Office building, now called Prince Edward Building, was designed in Beaux-arts style with dormer windows in the loft storey. It was considered redundant and now consists of a restaurant, theater, and shops. Many historic school buildings were demolished or redeveloped to house YMCA, private condominium-title residences, or old campuses. Theaters and concert halls had the same fate either destroyed by fire, demolished, or closed and sold. Another significant masterpiece that vanished was McCallum Hill Building which stood tall for years blown up with explosives and McCallum Hill Center Tower I and Tower II took its place and changed the streetscape. The lack of hospitals in Regina due to the service of private doctors was put right by two hospitals, Regina General Hospital and Grey Nuns Hospital, which is still in use although it was modernized several times.

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Regina 11th Avenue_©Wikipedia
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Regina 11th Avenue Modern Day_©Wikipedia

Notable Areas of Regina

The notable regions of Regina were the successful works of early planners, specifically the Wascana creek, the spring runoff by obstructing it with a dam that embellishes the Wascana lake today. Secondly, the Downtown Business district, Market Square, is adorned with skyscrapers and glazed exteriors. The cathedral area housing the Holy Rosary Cathedral with the green scenery is another noteworthy landmark. The Residential neighborhoods based in the south of downtown are remarkable and are worthy of attention. Lakeview Neighborhood with the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, designed in Beaux-arts style with stone facade elevating greater magnanimous with the welcoming Queen Elizabeth II Park in the front is a sight to behold. Germantown, an area settled by continental Europeans, was poor and neglected with necessities such as sewerage and water in the early years. The Albert Memorial Bridge with the promenade creating the Wascana lake is another well-known landscape. Lastly, the Warehouse District is renowned for its freightage history but redeveloped. All these widely known landmarks paint the cityscape of Regina with the significant history that draws our eyes.

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Regina Downtown_©static.wikia.nocookie.net

New construction has always been at the forefront for the architects in Regina throughout the 20th century. Getting sight of the impeccable views in Regina can be serene although the city became a victim of the modernization delusion. The demolition and construction took turns losing the city’s essence of being original. The history of Regina can be studied in parts and pieces with the mercy shown for a few existing historic buildings. There was a movement called The Heritage Conservation Movement and Urban Renewal during the 1970s when major historic landmarks were being demolished. The loss of historic buildings was raised in the public interest, and they voiced their views for preserving the Architectural Heritage of Regina. Restoring and rehabilitating historic buildings should be a significant objective for every city planner. 

Author

Rohini M is an Assistant Architect in Atkins, Bangalore. She is also certified LEED Green Associate and COA registered Architect. Moreover, she also contributes articles to Building Design Journal in Atkins UK. She is a go-to person for hand made cards for any event or wall arts in the firm.

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