River Street is located in the downtown core of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Moose J aw’s downtown is heavily concentrated with historic architecture from the city’s conception in the early 1900’s. Moose Jaw’s rich history draws in many tourists every year and the city relies on this tourism as an income generator. River Street conversely is not up to par with the surrounding downtown region. ͞
"River street west prior to the First World War was a street of hotels, real estate business, cafes, and pool rooms, indicative of a growing, booming community."1
River Street has been on the decline ever since. Fire claimed the Cecil Hotel in 1975, Empress Hotel in 1987, and the Joyner ’ s building in 2004. Fire isn ’ t the only culprit in the decline of River Street. In 2009 the city agreed to demolish three historic hotels, the Brunswick Hotel, C ity Hotel, and the Royal Hotel to make way for a new development that was in the end never realized and to this day the lots remain vacant. What was once a thriving street has become an uninhabited gravel parking lot.
This thesis will attempt to define a set of attitudes that establish a prairi e architecture. It will then use those set of attitudes to explore how to revitalize River Street, to revive it from its present-day desolate state into a street analogous to its former splendor. As a manifestation, I intend to study and discover how contemporary architecture can be situated within the historic downtown core of Moose Jaw. Is there an appropriate architecture for Moose Jaw? What does it mean to make architecture in Moose Jaw? Can it rehabilitate, enhance the area? Through examination of the building materials and existing details of the surrounding historic buildings I will explore how the existing materials and details can be reformed into new contemporary details, so not to replicate the past but build off of it to create a new architecture that will draw a parallel between existing and new.
1. Knight, Leith, All the moose, all the jaw. Moose Jaw, Sask,: Moose Jaw 100, 1982. Pg.61