“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared March 1, 1998.
• 707 - 727 7th Avenue S.W.
• Built: 1959 - 1964
• Architect: Rule Wynn Rule (the Rule, Wynn, Rule Collection is held by the Canadian Architectural Archives at the University of Calgary)
• Contractor: Commonwealth Construction Company was the General Contractor. Dominion Bridge had the steel fabrication and erection contract.
• Original cost: $5,000,000 for the twenty storey main tower called Elveden House built 1959-1960. $4,500,000 for the fourteen storey east tower called the British American Oil Building built 1960 - 1961. $5,000,000 for the third tower built to the west side and called the Guinness House built in 1964.
• Original owner: British Pacific Building Limited, a Guinness subsidiary. The Company owned Calgary's Duke Drilling Investment Company Limited and Seabridge Investments. In Vancouver they built the Lions Gate Bridge, Capilano Golf Club and the Park Royal shopping centre.
• Construction materials: Steel, concrete, limestone, marble and glass. Double glazed glass on all sides with the southern exposure tinted to allow natural light in all offices. Green enamelled steel spandrel panels on the towers.
• Architectural style: Modern with regional adaptations of Modernism. Author Trevor Boddy outlined some of the adaptive features, "the design motif of the hexagon is featured on the spandrel panels, on pedestrian canopies, lobby walls, and even light diffuser boxes. This cladding colour and the mosaic harps and angels are allusion, unusually explicit for a high Modern building, to the Irish source of the Guinness fortune."
• Original interior details: Designed to feature the most economic use of office floor space and maximum comfort. Provided office space for Calgary's expanding oil industry in the area of the city which became known as the "oil patch." Technological innovations included air - conditioning, natural light, a mail chute, incinerators, intercom and a sidewalk snow melting system.
• In 1958 property for the first two towers was purchased through the Lyle Brothers Ltd. Real Estate.
• The architects, Wynn, Rule, Wynn detailed the elevations, interiors and massings of the three towers as one complete conception.
• When completed the complex included three towers linked by a three storey podium.
• Eleveden House was Calgary's first skyscraper.
• The main twenty storey tower was constructed 1959 - 1960. It towered 263 feet above the sidewalk. The lower three floors measured 205 x 72 feet, the upper floors 60 x 147 feet. The basement stretched under the entire property.
• October 14, 1960, Viscount Elveden officiated at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the twenty storey main tower. Mayor Hays placed a "box of records" in the stone which included the Guinness "Book of Records", an architect's drawing of Elveden House, pictures of Calgary, coins, local newspapers and magazines and a couple of bottles of Guinness. Hays called the building a "landmark, a monument and a milestone."
• The fourteen storey east tower was constructed 1960 - 1961 for occupation by the British American Oil Company Limited. Officially opened in September 1962 by Lord Elveden. It had 192,174 square feet of floor space compared to 207,384 square feet in the main tower.
• The east tower was joined to the main tower both subterraneously and above ground.
• In 1963, British Pacific Building Limited bought the 37.5 foot frontage lot,a residential property west of Elveden House and the 25 foot frontage 7th St. and 7th Avenue corner lot of Quinton Realty.
• In 1964 the estimated value of the completed Elveden complex including land and three towers was $18,000,000. In that year the two existing towers were 98% occupied.
• The third tower built in 1964, a fifteen storey building called Guinness House, provided an additional 120,00 square feet of office space plus two floors of enclosed tenant parking for 100 cars. The main Elveden House glass enclosed concourse was extended westward to link the main lobbies of all three buildings.
• 1998 - Estancia Investments Inc. own and manage the complex which consists of Ernst and Young House (707), Elveden House (717) and Guinness House (727).
• Rental agents, Westcorp Realty, report retail and office space vacancy within the 450,000 square foot complex is currently 7%.
• Original plans for the Elveden complex (1959 - 1965) are available for viewing at the Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary.