top of page


Firm: J. A. Cawston

Address: 610 8 Avenue SW

Date of final plans: February 1949

Status: standing as built

The Barron Building project was begun by the firm J. M. Stevenson Cawston and Stevenson, and the first set of working drawings was completed in February 1949. When Jack Cawston left the firm to establish his own practice – J. A. Cawston, Architect – he took the Barron project with him and completed it under his own name. The only noticible change from the first set of drawings was that a hip roof on the top of the elevator tower was replaced with a flat roof.

No modern building in Calgary has received more media attention than the Barron Building. For most of the 2010s this modern masterpiece sat empty and derelict, a sad symbol of Calgary's indifference to its history, and a regular topic for columnists in the Herald. In November 2011 the building was vacated, and there ensued much discussion about its future. The Barron's owner, Strategic Group, released a plan for its remodelling, which included the removal of much of the street-level façade and the addition of a glass tower that would cover most of the east side. After pressure from Heritage Calgary, the City of Calgary submitted an application to the Province to designate the building a heritage resource. In April 2014 the Minister of Culture said that she planned to proceed with the designation, however, in May the City of Calgary rescinded its application, stating that Strategic Group had made a convincing economic case for its project. This sad affair left one to wonder, if Calgary can't protect the Barron, what can it protect? It is a modern building killed by its own modern ethos: irreverence towards the past.

bottom of page