Clock Tower Science

The St. Albert Clock Tower is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The brick building guards over the Perron District and provides us with the time, but its initial creation was for more than just timekeeping. 

The Clock Tower went up in 1995 thanks to the scientific curiosity of civil engineering professor Mike Hatzinikolas at the University of Alberta. Hatzinikolas wasn’t necessarily a time enthusiast, but actually wanted to study the way bricks are affected by weather and erosion. He developed the tower to be neat on the outside, but with each side using a different construction method. Our lovely clock tower is a science experiment! 

The construction was all volunteer-based, with materials being donated by businesses in the community. Following its construction, Hatzinikolas’ team studied the tower, their measuring equipment hidden on the inside. The study ended a year after construction, the Clock Tower left to tell time to St. Albert residents. Another study was developed in 2013 by Dr. Yasser Korany, also with the U of A. This study, with new and modern research methods, continues to collect data to this day. 

Even if you’re not a fan of bricks and how they erode, the next time you drive by the Clock Tower, don’t be afraid to inspect the bricks of our scientific building. Our humble Clock Tower is research in the making.