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Society for the Study of - Sexton Digital Initiatives
Society for the Study of
Architecture in Canada
President
Douglas Franklin
30 Renfrew Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 1Z5
Past President
Christina Cameron
Parks Canada
Les Terrasses de Ia Chaudi~re
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1G2
Letter from the President
office (613) 237-1867
res. 236-5395
office (819) 994-1808
res. 827-1172
Vice-President
Stuart Lazear
11215- 73 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G OC7
office (403) 431-2345
res. 437-2711
Treasurer
Dana Johnson
1470 Edgecliffe Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario, KlZ 1Z5
office (613) 994-2866
res. 729-8783
Secretary
Neil Einarson
754- Mulvey Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3M 1H7
office (204) 945-4390
res. 284-8783
Bulletin Editor
Don Lovell
Architecture Division
DPW&H, G.N.W.T., Box 1320
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, XlA 2L9
Members at Large (East to West):
Charles Henley
8 Battery Road
St. John's, Newfoundland, AlA 1A4
Richard Mackinnon
89 Cottage Road
Sydney, Nova Scotia, BlP 2C9
Reg Porter
162 Dorchester Street
Charlottetown, P.E.I. ClA 1E3
Allen Doiron
Provincial Archives
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5Hl
Howard Shubert
Canadian Centre for Architecture
2nd Floor 1440 Ste. Catherine St. W.
Montreal, Quebec, H3G 1R8
MarkFram
221 Russell Hill Roads No. 302
Toronto, Ontario, M4V 2T3
Jim Johnston
185 Waverly Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3M 3K4
Frank Korvemaker
Saskatchewan Culture and Recreation
1942 Hamilton Street
Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3V7
Diana Thomas Kordan
Historic Sites Alberta Culture
8820- 112 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2P8
Edward Mills
701 - 1133 Melville Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6E 4E5
office (403) 873-7818
res. 873-2138
(709) 726-5683
office (514) 871-1418
res. 485-1542
office (426) 965-4961
res. 961-9956
With best wishes,
Douglas Franklin
President
The Society has a new Executive Secretary, Christine Derouin, who
will handle the on-going administrative work of the Society. This includes
processing memberships, maintaining the membership list, supporting
the work of the Treasurer and President, handling the sale of Society
publications, and several other duties.
We welcome Christine and will count on her skills in maintaining
the business side of our Society. She can be reached through the SSAC
box number or by telephone at (613) 523-8725.
NORTHERN ARCHITECTURE
The December issue of the Bulletin will consist of papers dealing
with architecture of Canada's north. Topics range from anthropological
studies of early Inuit dwellings to contemporary architectural practice
north of 60° parallel. Those interested in submitting articles should send
their manuscripts including photos directly to the Editor.
BULLETIN
Volume 12, Number 2
PROCEEDINGS PART VIII
L'Architecture Reliquieuse Contemporaine des
Cantons De L'Est : Caracteres et Rayonnement
by Claude Bergeron (Presented S.S.A.C.
Conference 1985) .... ........ . ..· .................... 3
office (204) 983-3088
res. 452-0377
office (306) 787-5875
res. 586-1405
FEATURES
office (403) 427-2022
res. 431-2344
Witness to the Passing of Victorian Architecture the R.A.I.C. Journal, 1924-1935
by Alexander F. Cross .. . . . ................. ....... .. 9
office (604) 667-6317
Printing and typesetting: Quadra Graphics Ltd., Nanaimo, B.C.
Cover: Granby, Saint-Benoit, 1949-50. Arch.: Edgar
Dom Claude Cote. Inventaire de biens cuJtureJs de Quebec
2:87
The huge response from members to the pre-publication sale indicates
the need for the SSAC to continue to serve its members through the coordination of such publications. This might seem self-evident, but it is
not. There is still a sizeable inventory of back-issues of SSAC Bulletins
and individually-published Proceedings available. During the coming year
I will endeavour to "market" this inventory to all members. It simply
represents some of the most extensive research into the field of Canadian architecture during the past fifteen years!
NEW EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
ISSN No. 0228-0744
Indexed in the Canadian Periodicals Index
2 SSAC BULLETIN
The publication of the Index of the Canadian Architect and Builder,
1888·1908 by the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada in 1987
is directly linked to the purpose and objectives of our organization. The
exhaustive research and compilation by Patricia Johnson and Pual Chenier
was a labour of love. Moreover, the authors offered their manuscript for
publication without remuneration. In turn, the SSAC has published the
Index, primarily as a service to its members and the community of
researchers, and the many constituencies that will find it useful. The price
of the Index was simply based on cost recovery.
Courchesne
et
Report From Saskatchewan
by Frank Korremaker ...... . . . .. . ... .............. .. 15
Membership fees are payable on 1 January of each year at the following rates: Student $10.00, IndividualiFamily $20.00, Organization,
Corporation, Institution $30.00. Make cheque payable to SSAC. Further
information on membership dues can be obtained from the Membership
Secretary, Box 2302, Station 'D', Ottawa, Ontario, KlP 5W5. Opinions
expressed herein are those of their authors and not necessarily those
of the Society. The Bulletin is not responsible for unsolicited material.
...
~ Figure
1. Windsor, Saint-GabrieJ-Lallemant, vers 1952:
Figure 2. Sherbrooke, Saint-Joseph, 1946.
!'ARCHITECTURE RELIGIEUSE CONTEMPORAINE DES CANTONS
DE 11EST: CARACTERES ET RAYONNEMENT
par Claude Bergeron
Au XXe siecle, Ia construction des eglises catholiques sur ce territoire releve de deux autorites distinctes. Grossierement, le territoire a
!'ouest de Ia ligne qui passe par Drummond ville et Waterloo est rattache
au diocese de Saini-Hyacinthe. Le reste appartient au diocese de Sherbrooke qui, contrairement au diocese de Saini-Hyacinthe, est entierement contenu a l'interieur du territoire des Cantons de !'Est. Le diocese
de Sherbrooke presente done une relative homogeneite. Ses eglises ont
ete conc;:ues par des architectes de Sherbrooke, landis que dans le
diocese de Saini-Hyacinthe on s'est adresse a des arc hitectes montrealais , sherbrookois et meme de Quebec. Et precisement durant Ia
periode que j'entends etudier, soit du debut des annees 1930 jusqu'au
debut des annees 50, !'architecture religieuse du diocese de Sherbrooke
presente des caracteres nettement distinctifs et, en un sens, precoces.
C'est done essentiellement de !'architecture religieuse du diocese de
Sherbrooke durant ces qulque vingt annees et de son rayonnement dans
d'autres regions qu'il va etre question dans mon expose.
Mentionnons tout de suite Ia position plutot ambivalente de !'architecture religieuse dans ce diocese , ou les merites d'une caracteristique semblent amoindries par les faiblesses d'une autre. D'une part,
comme je viens dele dire, cette architecture presente des caracteres qui
Ia demarquent nettement de !'architecture des autres regions du
Quebec, ce qui lui confere un interet particulier. D'autre part, ces
eg lises sont modestes , souvent tres modestes, par leurs dimensions,
le urs materiaux et leurs formes. C'est Ia d'ailleurs une de leurs
caracteristiques distinctives principales. En soi, Ia modestie n'est pas
un defaut, et ce n'est pas une raison pour qu'elles perdent de leur interet, mais il faut reconnaltre que souvent ces eglises simples et
modestes revelent peu d'imagination et d'effort de renouvellement, si
bien qu'elles risquent de ne pas retenir !'attention. Par contre, des
caracteristiques qui deviendront courantes dans les eglises catholiques
des annees 60 apparaissent beaucoup plus tot qu'ailleurs dans certaines
eg lises de Sherbrooke. Enfin, encore parmi les aspects positifs,
retenons que durant le deuxieme et le troisieme quart du XXe siecle , ont
oeuvre dans cette region ou en sont issus un certain nombre d'architectes qui se sont fait une telle reputation de biitisseurs d'eglises
qu'ils ont ete amenes a travailler dans diverses regions du Queoec et
meme dans d'autres provinces.
Je vais done d'abord etudier cette architecture du diocese de Sherbrooke qui me para!t Ia plus distinctive et ensuite je presenterai un bref
aperc;:u du rayonnement de trois architectes de Ia region .
1- CARACTERES:
Si on les compare aux eglises des autres regions du Quebec, les
eglises du diocese de Sherbrooke apparaissent beaucoup plus
modestes. Alors qu'ailleurs Ia monumentalite est toujours bien vivante
encore apres Ia Seconde Guerre Mondiale, les eglises de Sherbrooke
sont generalement tres peu imposantes. Elles sont petites, leur grosseur
moyenne leur permettant de reunir une assemblee de cinq cents fideles,
et plusieurs ne pouvant en recevoir plus de trois cent. Leur plan est Ires
simple. Si les eglises des annees 30 conservent encore le chevet arrondi, comme Saint-Camille de Cookshire (1933), celui-ci est immanquablement remplace par un choeur rectangulaire apres 1940. Bien
plus, le choeur, flanque de sacristies a gauche eta droite , est souvent
compris dans le meme rectangle que Ia nef, composant une masse tres
simple ou les deux pentes de Ia toiture forment des surfaces continues
d'une extremite a !'autre du plan (Fig. 1).
Les materiaux accentuent l'apparence simple et modeste des
eglises de Sherbrooke , en meme temps qu'ils les distinguent des autres
regions. Alors qu'ailleurs on prefere Ia pierre longtemps encore a pres Ia
Derniere Guerre, a Sherbrooke Ia brique est le materiau d'au mains 80%
des eglises de l'apres-guerre , constituant un des traits les plus distinctifs. C'est presque toujours une brique rouge , a laquelle sont souvent
ajoutees des briques brunes et des dalles de beton recouvertes d'une
poussiere de pierre blanche et noire, pour encadrer le portail et les
fenetres et parfois aussi pour constituer des motifs decoratifs simples
sur Ia fac;:ade principale. La simplicite du materiau se poursuit a l'interieur ou plusieurs eglises ont des lambris faits de panneaux prefabriques , tels le placoplatre , le contreplaque, le "Donnacona" et autres agglomeres semblables (Fig. 2).
On peut identifier deux types de fac;:ade principale. Les eglises du
premer type presentent un pignon sensiblement de meme hauteur que
lemur sur lequel il se pose (Fig. 3). Cette forme de fa c;:ade , avec eel
equilibre entre Ia hauteur du mur et celle du pignon, n'est en aucun
point exclusive au diocese de Sherbrooke . Le deuxieme type cependant
lui est beaucoup plus propre. Les fac;:ades de ce type se rapprochent du
carre. Ces eg lises ont le plus souvent des toitures a faible pente qui
engendrent un profil semblable sur Ia fac;:ade principalle, comme a
l'eglise Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire , a Sherbrooke. lei le narthex occupe un
petit volume bas qui precede Ia fac;:ade. Dans d'autres eglises , comme au
Coeur-Immacule-de-Marie (Fig. 4), a Sherbrooke, le narthex forme un
avant-corps central qui s'eleve au-dessus du reste de Ia fac;:ade comme
un fronton triangulaire qui est en fait le sommet du toit dont le reste de
Ia pente est cache par des ailerons horizontaux de chaque cote. Le toil
de ces deux eglises possede une faible pente , de sorte qu'il s'etablit
quand me me un rapport assez etroit entre Ia forme carree de Ia fac;:ade et
Ia coupe transversale de Ia nef. Dans d'autres eglises , par contre, ou le
toit forme des pentes beaucoup plus raides , il est interessant de remarquer que !'on a quand meme cherche a faire tendre Ia facade vers le
carre. C'est le cas, entre autres, de l'eglise Notre-Dame-de-Liesse a
Deauville (Fig. 5) et de l'eglise Sainte-Therese-d'Avila a Sherbrooke, ou
Ia ligne du pig non est interrompue au milieu de sa course pour suggerer
que les murs-gouttereaux montent plus haul qu 'ils ne le font vraiment.
Au fait, les fac;:ades carrees ant une longue tradition dans le diocese de
3
!'unite de !'architecture religieuse de ce diocese. Ce profil se renconte
dans d'autres regions du Quebec, mail il n'est jamais aussi exclusif qu'a
Sherbrooke. Dans certaines regions !'arc polygonal est meme tout a fait
absent, landis que dans les regions oil on le rencontre , il est une forme
parmi d 'autres, comme !'arc en plein cintre, !'arc ogival ou !'a rc
parabolique. Dans le diocese de Sherbrooke, au contraire , on le
retrouve dans presque toutes les eglises landis que les autres types
d'arcs son! a toutes fins utiles absents a pres 1940, c'est-a-dire a partir du
moment oil !'on a adopte !'arc polygonal.
Deux raisons , je pense , expliquent Ia popularite de !'arc polygonal
a Sherbrooke . C'est celui qui est le plus facile a contruire avec des
materiaux rig ides comme le bois . II etait done apte a raidir les fermes du
comble en meme temps qu'il permettait de recuperer Ia majeure partie
de l'espace sous le toit pour accroitre le volume interieur sans que !'on
ait a construire des eglises hautes (Fig. 2). Mais au-deJa de ces contraintes purement pratiques , il ne faut pas ecarter !'influence de Dam
Bello!, qui pr6nait !'arc polygonal pour les eglises en beton. Comme on
verra plus loin, le style de Dam Bellot a fait une apparition precoce a
Sherbrooke. De plus, c'est dans Ia region , a Saint-Benoit-du-Lac , que
Dam Bellot a construit une de ses principales oeuvres et qu'il fut inhume en 1944 . Certaines eglises en beton, comme Sainte-Theresed'Avila a Sherbrooke et Saint-Jean-Basco a Magog (Fig. 6) temoignent
de cette influence du style de D'om Bellot.
La periode au cours de laquelle !'architecture de diocese de Sherbrooke presente ces caracteres distinctifs dure une quinzaine d'annees ,
depuis environ 1940 jusqu'au debut des annees 50. La construction en
1953 de l'eglise Saint-Antoine-de-padoue a Lennoxville (Fig. 8 et 9) !ermine cette periode. Cette egise des architectes Audet, Tremblay &
Audet resume bien les carac.teristiques de cette periode. Pouvant accueillir un peu plus de cinq cents fideles , elle se classe parmi Ia
grandeur moyenne de ces eglises. Elle est en brique rouge. Les murs bas
et le clocher sur le cote de Ia fac;ade sont d'autres caracteristiques communes a plusieurs eglises de Ia region. La principale nouveaute de cet
exterier est Ia travee centrale en beton recouvert de poussiere de pierre
qui prolonge les !ignes du portail. Cette nouveaute annonce une
caracteristique courante des eglises posterieures a 1955.
Figure 3. Sherbrooke, Saint-Jean-Brebeuf, 1946-47. Arch.: Wilfrid Gregoire
et Denis Tremblay.
Sherbrooke. Sans vouloir en tracer !'evolution , mentionnons que Ia
premiere cathedrale de Sherbrooke, contruite en 1855 , possedait une
fac;ade carree qui cachait completement les deux pentes raides de Ia
toiture.
Si par ce traitment !'on ressissait a confere a Ia fac;ade une certaine
monumentalite qu'elle n'aurait pas eue parses seules dimensions , de
tels artifices etaient beaucoup plus difficiles a obtenir a l'interieur, oil
une nef basse rend difficiles les effets monumentaux. En fait , c'est souvent davantage a l'interieur que les eglises du diocese de Sherbrooke
revelent leur caractere modest. J'ai deja , a ce sujet, parle de Ia relative
pauvrete des materiaux. Malgre cela, ces interieurs ne sont pas mains
caracteristiques. L'arc polygonal est une caracteristique quasi constante
de ces eglises, et il contribue autant, sinon plus que Ia brique a assurer
Figure 4. Sherbrooke, Coeur-Immaculi1-de-Marie, 1948. Arch.: J.-Albert
Poulin.
4 SSAC BULLETIN
2:87
Figure 5. Deouville, Notre-Dame-de-Liesse, 1948. Arch.: J.-Albert Poulin.
A l'interieur, on retrouve ]'arc polygonal. L'aspect demeure sobre,
mais les materiaux sont plus durables que ceux generalement utilises
dans les eglises de cette epoque. Le plancher est en terrazzo et les murs
aux couleurs pastel sont en platre. Le choeur, avec sa voute aussi haute
que celle de Ia nef, s'apparente davantage aux eglises qui vont suivre
qu 'a celle qui l'ont precede. Mais le rapport etroit qu 'entretient ce
choeur avec Ia nef est loin d'etre etranger aux eglises du diocese de
Sherbrooke . En fait , nous abordons ici une des caracteristiques les plus
interessantes et les plus precoces des eglises de Ia region.
Le mouvement de renouveau liturgique , qui avail commence en
Europe a l'epoque de Ia Seconde Guerre Mondiale et qui visait a rapprocher le celebrant et les fideles , s'est graduellement etendu apres Ia
guerre pour finalement recevoir Ia sanction officielle du Concile de
Vatican II en 1962-65. Pour realiser ce rapprochement on repensera le
pin des eglises . On les concevra plus larges afin de rassembler le plus
possible les fideles au tour de celebrant. Cela engendrera des plans carres , ronds, en even tail ... Au Quebec , ces innovations sont rares avant
1960, et nulle part elles n'apparaissent aussi tot que dans le diocese de
Sherbrooke. Des 1940, l'architecte Alphonse Belanger construisait a
Sherbrook l'eglise du Christ-Roi qui se present a l'exterieur comme un
volume de plan carre. Chaque fac;:ade s'inscrit dans un carre, typique de
plusieurs eglises de Ia region. L'interieur revele un arrangement spatial
un peu ambigu ou se cotoient les formes d'un plan longitudinal, d'un
pllan carre et d'un plan en croix grecque. La voute centrale en berceau
suggere une nef longitudinale, mais au fait Ia nef est plus large que
longue. D'autre part, des voutes transversales en berceau polygonal
comme Ia voute principale forment une croix grecque avec Ia voute du
choeur et celle au-dessus de Ia galerie de l'orgue.
Figure 6. Magog, Saint-Jean-Basco, 1946-48. Arch.: Alphonse Belanger.
Ces indecisions allaient dispara!tre a l'eglise Saint-jean-Bosco de
Magog (Fig. 6 et 7) que le meme architecte allait construire six ans plus
tard . lei le plan est un octogone regu lier, et Ia structure faite d'arcs
polygonaux en beton produit un forme pyramidante qui a son sommet
au centre du plan, a l'interieur comme a l'exterieur. A l'exterieur, Ia
pierre est assez exceptionnelle, mais on y retrouve encore Ia forme en
frontispice de Ia fac;:ade accolee ici a un plan central. Enfin, !'entree se
fa isant au niveau meme du sol pluto! que par un escalier monumental
rend l'eglise Saint-jean-Bosco plus invitante , comme on cherhera plus
tard ale faire dans les egises du renouveau liturgique.
Figure 7. Magog, Saint-Jean-Basco, 1946-48. Arch.: Alphonse Belanger.
...
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Figure B. Lennoxville,
Tremblay & Audet.
Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue,
1953.
Arch.:
Audet,
Figure
9. Lennoxville,
Tremblay & Audet.
Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue, 1953.
Arch.:
Audet,
5
II- RA YONNEMENT:
Durant le deuxieme quart du XXe siecle , trois architectes de Sherbrooke ont exerce une activite qui a largement deborde les limites des
Cantons de !'Est. Le pemier de ceux-la est Louis-Napoleon Audet. Ne en
1881 a Lambton, a Ia limite des Cantons de !'Est et de Ia Beauce , il a fait
son apprentissage chez l'architecte sherbrookois Wilfrid Gregoire dont
il devint l'associe en 1907. Durant Ia Premiere Guerre il s'associa a l'architecte montrealais Rene Charbonneau, apres quai il revint s'etablir a
Sherbrooke definitivement. En 1942, il forma it Ia firme Audet ,
Tremblay & Audet avec son fils , Jean-Paul, et Denys Tremblay. LouisN. Audet est decede en 1972.
II est sans doute l'architecte canadien qui compte a son credit les
plans pour le plus grand nombre de cathedrales. II est en effet l'architecte des cathedrales de Sherbrooke et de Moncton. II fut architecteconseil pour Ia construction de Ia cathedrale de Valleyfield, et il effectua des travaux de renovation dans les cathedrales de Bathurst et de
Saint-Jean au Nouveau-Brunswick eta Ia cathedrale d'Halifax. Mais son
oeuvre Ia plus grandiose est sans doute Ia basilique de Sainte-Anne-deBeau pre , commencee en 1923 et dont les travaux definition de Ia crypte
se poursuivent en ce moment d'apres les plans de M. Denis Tremblay
qui fut l'associe d'Audet durant 30 ans.
Avant de construire Ia basilique de Sainte-Anne pour les peres
Redemporistes , Audet avail travaille pour cette congregation a Sherbrooke depuis le tout debut de sa pratique privee en 1910. C'est encore
pour cette communaute qu'il contruit l'eg lise Saint-Alphonsed'Youville a Montreal en 1929-31 (Fig . 10). Avec cette eglise, Audet apparait comme un des premiers a introduire a Montreal le style de l'architecte americain Ralph Adams Cram. L'annee prededente , les architects Maginnis et Walsh de Boston avaient construit dans ce style Ia
Church of the Ascension of Our Lord a Westmount.
Figure 10. Montreal, Saint-Alphonse-d'Youville, 1929-31. Arch.: LouisN.Audet.
L'eglise Saint-Alphonse-d'Youville se distingue principalement
par sa tour puissante qui est aussi large que Ia nef centrale. De tels
massifs imposants et lourds qui surmontent le milieu de Ia fac;:ade principale sont une forme que vont souvent affectionner les architectes
sherbrookois dans leurs eglises des annees 30 et 40 , comme on le voit a
l'eglise de l'Immaculee-Conception a Sherbrooke , construite en 1930
d'apres les plans de J.-Aime Poulin. lis vont aussi transporter cette
forme dans d'autres regions, comme !'a fait Audet a Ia cathedrale de
Moncton (1939-55), ou une puissante tour carree atteint Ia hauteur de
75 metres (Fig. 11).
Comme d'autres architectes qui ont oeuvre entre les deux guerres ,
Audet est un eclectique, s'inspirant de sources diverses; mais c'est surtout aux formes lourdes et massives de !'architecture romane que sa
preference parait aller. La petite eglise Sainte-Brigitte de Maria (Fig. 12)
en Gaspesie (1936-37) fait voir une autre interpretation du theme de Ia
tour puissante au sommet du portail. Ce clocher en largeur, inspire des
massifs occidentaux (Westwerk) des eglises carolingiennes et des
eglises romanes allemandes , donne a cette eglise de village une allure
tout a fait unique parmi les eglises du Quebic. II faut cependant noter
que cette forme , a une echelle amoindrie, fut vouee a uncertain succes
dans le diocese de Sherbrooke (Fig. 3).
Figure
Arch.
11. Moncton, Cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-I'Assomptich,
Louis-N. Audet.
6 SSAC BULLETIN
2:87
1939-55.
Figure 13. Kenogami, Sainte-Cecile, 1950. Arch.: J.-Aime et Albert Poulin.
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Figure 12. Maria, Sainte-Brigitte, 1936-37. Arch.: Louis-N. Audet.
Un autre architecte de Sherbrooke qui a exerce une important activite de bil.tisseur d'eglises est J.-Aime Poulin. II est ne dans le meme
village que Louis-N. Audet, a Lambton dans le comte de Frontenance
en 1889. Il a etudie !'architecture a Sherbrooke avec Wilfrid Gregoire
puis avec Audet, et a Quebec avec Pierre Levesque. II etablit sa propre
pratique a Sherbrooke en 1925 , et de 1942 jusqu'a sa mort en 1952 il
etait associe a son fils Albert.
Sans avoir connu une carriere aussi eclatant que Louis-N. Audet,
Poulin a neanmoins ete amene a construire au-dela de la region des
Cantons de !'Est, et parmi ces constructions figure l'eglise Sainte-Cecile
de Kenogami, dans la region du Saguenay, erigee en 1950 (Fig. 13 et
14) . C'est le cure de Kenogami qui avait choisi les architectes Poulin. II
Figure 14. Kenogami, Sainte-Cecile, 1950. Arch.: J.-Aime et Albert Poulin.
connaissait l'eglise Notre-Dame-du Perpetuel-Secours que ceux-ci
avaient constuite a Sherbrooke en 1947-48 (Fig. 15), et il desirait qu'on
en construise une semblable pour sa paroisse. La facade de NotreDame-du Perpetuel-Secours appartient au type carre, bien caracteristique de Sherbrooke, tandis que la facade imposante de Sainte-Cecile , en
granit duLac Saint-Jean, s'apparente davantage au clocher de l'eglise de
Maria. C'est surtout par son interieur que l'eglise de Keno game ressemble a celle de Sherbrooke. Les deux eglises ont un plan en croix latine ,
mais Ia nef est courte et large et les bras du transept sont larges pour
former un espace interieur qui tend vers un plan centre ou taus les
fideles sont rapproches de l'autel.
Cet interieur, autant par son volume que par le decor des caissons
et des pilastres qui rythment le plafond et les murs, representait une
nouveaute dans Ia region du Saguenay; mais ce qui est surtout interessant c'est de voir comment un architecte local s'est inspire de ce
nouveau type d'eglise dans sa region pour fair evoluer les formes dans
le sens d'une plus grande simplification geometrique et d'une plus
grande abstraction. II s'agit de ]'architecte Leonce Desgagne, qui, quelque mois plus tard , construisait l'eglise du Saint-Nom-de-Jesus a
Riviere-du-Moulin, pres de Chicoutimi (Fig. 16). Les deux pentes du
toit sont apparentes a l'interieur, mais les puissantes poutres voilent
largement ces pentes pour transformer Ia nef plus ou mains en un
parallelepipede. Comme a l'interieur de Sainte-Cecile , ces poutres profondes et jumelees renferment le systeme d'eclairage. Les fenetres des
deux eglises, hautes , etroites et de forme retangulaire, se ressemblent
de meme que l'ouverture rectangulaire du choeur et Ia niche derriere
l'autel. Mais tout devient plus abstrait a l'eglise de Riviere-du-Moulin.
Un architece qui fut plus novateur que Poulin et dont les travaux en
architecture religieuse connurent une plus large diffusion est Edgar
Courchesne. II est ne a Upton, pres de Saint-Hyacinthe en 1903. Entre
1926 et 1930 il fit son apprentissage de !'architecture dans !'atelier de
Louis-N. Audet, a pres quai il effectua un stage a l'abbaye de Wisques en
France , ou il travailla sous la direction de Dom Bellot. Sa premiere
oeuvre apres son retour au Canada fut Ia construction de Ia crypte du
Seminaire Saint-Charles-Borromee, a Sherbrooke , en collaboration
avec J.-Aime Poulin.' Cette crypte de 1932-33 est la premiere oeuvre
dans le style de Dom Bellot au Canada, un style qui allait connaitre un
grand succes au Quebec durant les vingt prochaines annees. La crypte
est une construction de plan rectangulaire. L'arc qui -des sine la moitie
d'une para bole est ce qu'il reste d'un mur de fondation qu'on dut percer.
7
Figure 15. Sherbrooke, Notre-Dame-du-Perpetuel-Secours,
J.-Aime et Albert Poulin.
1945-48.
Figure 16. Riviere-du-Moulin, Saint-Nomp-de-Jesus,
Desgagne et Paul Boileau.
Arch.:
195D-53.
Arch.: Leonce
maison des hommes. Les eglises du diocese de Sherbrooke s'etaient deja engagees dans cette voie dix et meme vingt ans plus tot. Tout ce qu'on
peut leur reconnaitre cependant c'est d'avoir ete precoces; mais quant
aux facteurs de changement, il faut les voir non pas dans l'exe mple
sherbrookois, mais plutot dans le renouvellement liturgique .
Trente-six tom beaux sont disposes dans lemur de gauche, landis qu'un
autel occupe lemur de droite. On y retrouve !'arc parabolique, !'arc en
mitre ainsi que taus les motifs decoratifs en briques polychromes
caracteristiques du style de Dam Bellot: les briques en gradins, l'alternance des couleurs et les joints de mortier colore.
Entre 1936 et 1946, Courchesne exercera son metier d'architecte
pour le gouvernement federal et pour Ia Societe Radio-Canada, apres
quai il s'adonnera a Ia pratique privee avec un bureau a Montreal et un
autre a Rimouski. Durant les quelque quinze annees qui suivent, il construira plusieurs eglises en Gaspesie, dans Ia region de Rimouski, sur Ia
Cote-Nord, a Montreal eta Granby dans les Cantons de !'Est. Une des
plus remarquables de ses eg lises et l'eg lise Saint-Benoit a Granby (Fig.
17 & 18), qu'il a construite en 1949-50 avec le moine de Saint-Benoit-duLac , Dam Claude Cote. C'est une monumentale eglise dont l'exterieur
est en pierre de Deschambault. La structure est en brique, et conformement aux preceptes de Dam Bellot pour les eglises de brique les arcs
monumentaux qui franchissement Ia nef song paraboliques, ou en
chainette comme les appe lait Dam Bellot. Les arcs transversaux sont
des arcs en mitre , une autre forme typique du style de Dam Bellot. La
poussee des grands arcs de Ia nef est contrebutee par les arcs au-dessus
des allees laterales. Du cote exterieur, Ia ret om bee de ces derniers arcs
s'epaissit pour former des saillies dans lemur exterieur qui renforcent Ia
resistance , tandis qu'a l'interieur cet espace permet d'y placer les
confessionnaux.
NOTE
1.
Voir Nicole Tardif-Painchaud, Dorn Bellot et !'architecture
religieuse au Quebec (Les Presses de J'U niversite Laval, Quebec,
1978), Figures 130 a 136.
CONCLUSION:
A ce stade-ci, on pourrait etre tente de surevaluer !'influence qu'a
exercee ]'architecture de Ia region de Sherbrooke sur !'a rchitecture
religieuse quebecoise contemporaine. Une telle influence n'a pas encore ete reconnue, et elle ne fut probablement pas tres importante. Une
des premieres forc es responsab les du renouvellement de ]'architecture
religieuse contemporaine au Quebec fut le style de Dam Bellot. ASherbrooke, comme on vient dele voir , on a realise Ia premiere construction
dans ce style au Canada. Mais Courchesne ne reviendra a Ia pratique
privee qu'en 1946, et entre temps ce sont d'autres architectes, notamment Adrien Dufresne de Quebec , qui ant contribu e a Ia diffusion de ce
style, landis que dans Ia region de Sherbrooke ce style a laisse peu
d'oeuvres remarquables , a !'exce ption du monastere de Saint-Benoitdu-Lac dont Dam Bellot avait lui- meme commence Ia cons truction.
C'est ensuite autour de 1960 que s'est produit le principal changement
dans !'architecture religieuse quebecoise . La region de Montreal et celle
du Saguenay ant toujours ete reconnues comme les centres majeurs de
cette nouvelle architecture dont les principales carcteristiques sont des
eglises de petites dimensions et de plan ramasse qui reunit les fideles
pres du celebrant , des eg lises simples , de forme abstraite, et le mains
imposantes possible afin de reduire l'ecart entre Ia maison de Dieu et Ia
8
SSAC BULLETIN
2:87
u
Q)
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Figure 17. Granby, Saint-Benoit, 1949-50 Arch.: Edgar Courchesne et
Dom Claude Cote.
Figure 8. M.G. Leqer's design for an office building in 1930,
Witness to the Passing of
Victorian Architecture - the
R.A.I.C. Journal, 1924-1935
By Alexander F. Gross
January of 1924 saw the first issue of the "Journal of the Royal
Architectural Institute of Canada." It was the initial step of the architectural profession in Canada to provide a means of contact between its
members, to exchange views, disseminate ideas, provide information
and education, receive complaints and provide a reminder of obligations
to the profession. In its statement of purposes, notably absent was any
reference to the world beyond Canada. Nevertheless, it was an improvement on its predecessor the "Canadian Architect and Builder," mainly
a building trades magazine, which reflected the unprofessional status
of architecture in Canada right up to 1907 when the Royal Architectural
Institute of Canada was founded and professional status was accorded.
Any observer of the architectural scene who gleaned his information from the pages of the R.A.I.C. Journal throughout the 1920s would
have experienced difficulty predicting the changes which were to come
in the next decade. From the content of its articles and advertisement
to its format and graphics the Journal reflected the ideals of the Victorian
society into which it was born, a society whose mind still lingered in
the 19th Century. Louis Sullivan and B.G. Goodhue had both died on
April 14, 1924 and in its obituaries the Journal said of Goodhue; "His
churches, although based on the principles of Gothic, are in every way
modern in their expression." The Journal's conception of 'modern' was
certainly different from the conception in Europe. Walter Gropius had
already built the glass walled Faguswerk (1911) and Peter Behrens had
done his Berlin turbine factory in 1909 but the creators of the R.A.I.C .
Journal gave no indication that they had noticed.
There is no doubt that the Journal reflected the state of architectural
9
thinking in Canada at that itme. Gothic Revival style continued to be
admired. Since it was an important and recent (1919) public works project, it was perhaps natural that the new Parliament Buildings in Ottawa
should be featured in the first issue of the journal. However, it is noteworthy that not a single word of criticism was offered for the late Gothic
style or for the fact that a parliamentary committee " ... determined that
the building should be re-erected to present as similar an appearance
to the old ones as possible ...". The Pearson and Marchand elevation drawings, included in the article have a 19th Century flavour with their Gothic
printing. They might have been done by Fuller and jones.
An article in the first issue commented on the demolition of Nash's
Regent Street and its replacement with aesthetically worthless buildings.
The author asked why, when "We have a school of architects whose work
in classical design rivals that of older countries." In the "older countries" such as England, France, Germany, Scotland and Austria the
modern age had been heralded 20 years previously in the work of Voysey,
Mackintosh, Perret, Garnier, Behrens and Loos, but the journal article
clearly reflected Canadian thinking in 1924.
A rare note of criticism came in an article in the final issue of 1924
when S. Lewis Milligan referred to the New Union Station in Toronto
as an expression of inertia and a mausoleum. He then showed his 19th
Century roots by suggesting the design could have been enlivened by
a dome and carvings.
An admiration for 19th Century Victorian architecture persisted
'throughout the 1920s. In the first issue of 1925 an article by Professor
C.H.C. Wright about the architecture of the University of Toronto shows
a totally medieval university campus (Fig. 1). The atmosphere must have
affected the Department of Architecture where an exhibit of works by
the students, reviewed by john M. Lyle, showed not a sign of the modernism then sweeping Europe. Mr. Lyle said he was encouraged to think
that architects would be steeped enough in the great traditional architecture to design, for contemporary use, buildings with the best traditional
features. Like all of his associates john M. Lyle always stressed quality
of design while looking constatly to the past. In the july, 1928 journal,
W.L. Somerville credited Professor Eric Arthur's measured drawings
of early Ontario houses and his contagious enthusiasm with influencing recent work of young architects in Ontario, perhaps explaining the
MONTREAL
Figure 1. War Memorial Tower, University of Toronto.
absence of any sign that the young people had been influenced by Voysey
or Wright. Buildings featured in the journal were always traditional in
style. The first issue of 1927 featured the Ontario Government Building
at the Canadian National Exhibition, a design which would have been
in place in the 18th Century. In the February issue john M. Lyle lauded
the design of the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. In the October issue
the Princess Gates at the C.N.E. were featured and their late Roman style
was defended by A.H. Chapman in order " ... to avoid styles that were
liable to become obsolete with the change of fashion or public taste."
The April 1928 issue featured the Montreal City Hall, rebuilt after a fire,
in the original Second Empire style.
CITY
HALL
EQUIPPED WITH
CHAMBERLIN
COLD-ROLLED
BRONZE WEATHER
STRIP THROUGHOUT
CHAM BERLI N Metal Weather
is a dis tinctive feature of t he Recons tru cted City
Ha ll , \l ontrea l, P.Q.
In this modern huildinfa 1v;
in most of the outstanding
buildin~s throughout the ))o m inion "Chamberlin" WH S the
logical specification. Sel<•cted
because of its supreme qu»lity
and sterling reputation .
S tr i ppin ~
CQJ,O-ROLLED BRONZE No.
100, an es pecia ll y hi~h-class
ty pe of eq uipmen t, was m an u factured by us and installed by
our Montrea l Re presentatives
The James Wal ker Hardware
Company Li m ited.
ARCIIITECTS should s pt~Wy
CHAMBERLIN pr"ducts as an
essential part of the equipm ent
in all new buildings.
CITY HAU .. MONTREAL, P.Q.
A rch~t~c t - J. J.. D. L.drcn1cr('.
Consult in~ Ar chilc-ct J, 0. \I JtchauJ.
Ct,tHfilcrors,-- ()umbn. Rob('n~··n & J;tlli'' l .:m f("d.
~
THE CHAMBERLIN METAL WEATHER STRIP COMPANY LIMITED
FACTORY - KINGSVILLE, ONT.
Sa l(>s and Scrvict• f ('J)rt&.entath~ throuj!huur tlH• lhun inhut.
\Vr ite us dtrect ''r addn•ss nur ncun•st n• prc•s.,~ l' lhltivt·...., .
Figure 2. Montreal City Hall an archaeoJogicalJy correct Second Empire design, a modern building.
10 SSAC BULLETIN 2:87
A First Award was announced in the january 1929 issue for the
C.N.E. Automotive Building which seemed to have been influenced by
the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition. In the March 1929 issue
Eric Arthur reviewed the Toronto Chapter Architectural Exhibition in
which there was not a single design which was not traditional. Arthur's
main concern was with breaches of good taste in architectural design.
The decade ended without the appearance of a single modern building
design in the journal.
Despite the total absence of a drawing or photograph of modern architecture in the journal, modernism suddenly appeared in a review,
in the April 1929 issue, of a luncheon speech by john M. Lyle in February
of that year. He acknowledged the modern movement was sweeping the
world and that he had been to Paris to study it. His report concerning
the modern movement'a characteristic features was warm and approving but this same architect designed the Bank of Nova Scotia in Halifax,
featured in the january 1932 issue, a classical building with giant order
pilasters, rusticated ground floor and a mausoleum interior.
The advertisements in the R.A.l.C. journal, throughout the 1920s also
reflected the 19th Century thinking of the commercial contributors.
Gothic lettering and romantic graphics were used extensively in
advertisements.
Lighting Fixtures
of ~uality and Elegance
Equipment offered in advertisements was often very ornate in design.
An advertisement for Taylor-Forbes Company Ltd. in the first issue showed boilers and stoves. It would be easy to believe that the moulds for
these were designed in the 19th Century. Every issue had an advertisement for the Robert Mitchell Co. Ltd., manufacturers of ornate art metal
work for grilles, elevator doors and railings. Likewise, Lord & Burnham
Company advertised in every issue their Victorian style greenhouses and
conservatories. The National Terracotta Society also advertised in every
issue their line of ornamental panels and reliefs. Every issue had advertisements for Indiana limestone or masonery tiles and bricks, reflecting
the masonery construction of the buildings. There was never an advertisement for plate glass or steel beams and extrusions. Appropriate to
the whole atmosphere of the journal was the first advertisement for glass
in the November 1927 issue, the Pressed Prismatic Plate Glass Co. advertising its ornamental glass. Craftsmanship rather than modern building
methods was reflected in the birch flooring advertisements of the big
lumber companies. Modern technology can be seen developing
throughout the decade but the styling of lighting fixtures and electrical
panelboards remained rooted in the 19th Century. They were always
overloaded with ornamentation.
T~~~~d"f..e~ ~~~of~~~~~!:p h~~n~p~:~:
d"!C lattst development In the 6eld of moJcm hghung
unit$..
In <ksign and finash thta group 1~ distinctive to a
~gn:c .
1ts
Dlscnminaong buyers will recogntt.t it for
remarkable \'aloe. in solid br.w bghtingtquipment.
~:&:~~~·=~~~~
PX:m ~~~,.~:~mo~IIXI ~ncl
Ugh u~
-
nJ;t)'
!ixtu«• <I tht h.tgh<:&t qu.•ht-,-...nd h:.-uuful m J.\il~tfl
h:: ~.ul'lt:.l qut-:kfY eht~gh 1111\)' M':tncll <i ~h.: NordlC(n
£k,ftm:.
1\h.Jmin..l ti('ll'l ~~cu h~u. ~· UI ghtil)' ~~!l.lb wuh \'~Ill
,11 .ll1Y tll\)t'
m t~ rl.mm111: d. dL~.! tn.:'tl\1! hghtlf'l~ tqV1pmt'ot !ur ;my
(Ntf'O!IC.
CO!>! I'~ "l't
Ot~..<""
llt,;mo
·Northern Electric ~'k"
Figure 3. Modern lighting units, April1928.
The use of the word "modern" in advertisements and articles did
not have the same meaning in Canada that it had in Europe. Clearly the
journal equated "recent" with "modern". In September 1927 an Otis
Fensom Elevator Company advertisement termed the Royal Bank
Building in Montreal a modern skyscraper. It was no doubt new but had
classical columns, rusticated stone work and looked like it was inspired
by the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos. The Chamberlin Metal Weather Strip
Company in April 1928 called the Montreal City Hall, an archaeologically
correct Second Empire design, a modern building (Fig. 2). In the same
issue the Northern Electric Company advertised its garrish line of lighting
fixtures and called them the " .. .latest development in the field of modern
lighting units" (Fig. 3). Apparently, they had not the slightest notion of
what was being done at that moment at the Dessau Bauhaus (Fig. 4).
In january of 1929, the Indiana Limestone Company was still calling
the Chateau Laurier " ... a modern hotel building ...". In May of that year,
the Metal Studios Limited advertised a lighting fixture, which would have
fitted in well in the most indulgent 19th Century picturesque building,
as part of " ... the new Daily Star Building (which) typifies the best in
modern design and construction" (Fig. 5). The Daily Star Buildings
featured picturesque roof lines, traditional public areas and dimly lighted,
Dickensesque office areas. Despite the profession's objections to its traditional style, in june of 1928, the Confederation Building in Ottawa was
termed by the Armstrong Cork and Insulation Company, in a june 1931
advertisement as " ... the most modern structure recently erected in the
Capital City of Canada ... "
That the R.A.l.C. journal was comfortable with the content of its
articles and advertisement can be seen in the format and graphics of
the magazine itself. The 1924 issue had a cover dominated by Gothic
lettering (Fig. 6). All titles and headlines in the journal were done in
Gothic lettering and this persisted until a competition was called for a
new cover. The january 1928 issue had the new cover which was plain
with classical lettering (Fig. 7).
It is clear that the R.A .l.C. journal existed in a Victorian society for
the first few years of its life, but that was mainly a stylistic aspect.
Technology had always advanced and had made great progress in the
19th Century. The journal reflected this progress. In the first issue there
was an article on "Studies on Cooling of Fresh Concrete in Freezing
Weather" by Tokujiro Yoshida. The April-june issue had an article on
sound proof partitions and the October-December issue had an article
Figure 4. Lighting fixture designed at the Desau Bauhaus.
11
on "Stability of Thin Walls." An article in the january-February issue
of 1925 compared various systems of wall insulations. The technology
necessary for modern buildings was in place, certainly in Europe, and,
as Gowans points. out, when the demand for light and space was made,
modern buildings appeared. Modernistic buildings began to appear in
the early 1930s in Canada and they emphasized plainness, but they were
not glass curtain wall structures. They were Art Deco masonry and structural steel buildings with small windows and minimal ornamentation.
Considering the advances in building design being made in Europe,
what can explain the persistence of Victorian architecture in Canada
and the United States? There can be no doubt that North America passed through the period called Late Victorian from 1890 to 1930. During
this time, past styles were copied perfectly by such talented architects
as Ralph Adams Cram, Bruce Price, McKim, Mead and White and
Richard Morris Hunt. They were anachronisms in an age which had
discredited symbolism for Renaissance or Gothic could hardly reflect
the 20th Century. Traditional styles nevertheless persisted.
Partly, this persistence can be explained by patrons who, lacking
adventure, still wanted to live in Tudor mansions, stay in manorial hotels
and go· to school on Oxfordian campuses. The Beaux-Arts practitioners
were eloquent and powerful. In Canada architects like john M. Lyle were
doing fine work in the Renaissance style. His Thornton-Smith Building,
featured in the March-April 1926 journal was an anachronism but a fine
anachronism. The same could be said of the Gothic work of Sproatt and
Rolph. Eric Arthur was scornful of pinnacles and turrets but he still admired good design where proportions were correct and tradition was
tastefully applied. In the March-April 1926 journal he said of Sproatt
and Rolph "Gothic architecture is in the hands of most, a dead thing;
but the work of the latter firm is as alive and as rational as the best work
of the Gothic period." North America had emerged from the Great War
of 1914-1918 richer and with its optimism intact. A culturally immature
America ignored what was happening in Europe. It took Nazi persecution to make America notice the Bauhaus. Although Gothic Revival had
started to decline in England, a loyalist Canada still clung to what it
thought was typical of Mother England.
IN THE STAR
BUILDING
Every detail of the new
Daily Star Building typifies the best in modern
design and construction.
Canada might have looked to its architectural profession to lead the
way out of Victorian times but the profession was young and the practitioners not inclined to change. Percy Nobbs was certainly an intelligent
man and an inspired designer of historically styless buildings but his
Arts and Crafts movement constantly looked to the good of the past and
rarely to the possibilities of the future. In journal articles running from
July to November, 1930, he showed that he understood the difference
between North American skyscrapers and the "architecture of reality"
being practiced by Mies Van der Rohe in Europe. However, he cautioned against Canadians "losing their heads over modernity" and insisted
that the traditionalist was the better, more competent, more thorough
craftsman. Percy Nobbs was after all a Scot, and A.T. Galt in the journal of August 1935 attributed Victorian persistence to the Scottish
background of Canadians, a conservative ancestry slow to change. Architects of the calibre of Henry Sproatt still considered Gothic relevant.
At the 22nd Annual Dinner of the R.A.I.C., in 1929, Sproatt theorized
that French Gothic was of the intellect and English Gothic was of the
heart as it if still mattered. Scholars such as Ramsay Traquair and Eric
Arthur were absorbed with frequent articles in the journal dealing lovingly with the 18th Century architecture of Quebec and Ontario. Eric
Arthur could have been a strong advocate for change in the architecture faculty at University of Toronto but he constantly demured. In the
March-April 1926 issue of the journal he expressed admiration for Sproatt
and Rolph's Hart House, saying it ranked with the best college work in
England. He was repeatedly called upon to report to the journal on exhibits of architecture. His review in the March 1929 R.A.I.C. journal
of the Toronto Chapter Architectural Exhibition has been noted above
and as late as December 1932 Eric Arthur was still reviewing traditional
architecture, approvingly, for the journal. In his review of the R.A.I.C.
Exhibition he approved of the classical Bank of Montreal in Ottawa and
also had nice things to say about two very Georgian houses with
pedimented fronts and giant orders. He did not like the new National
Research Council Building in Ottawa saying the Sproatt and Rolph design
was "portentious." Professor Arthur thought they should stick to Gothic.
The appearance of modernism is certainly understandable. France
and England had emerged as pyrrhic victors from World War I and European society was disillusioned with old values. The cataclysmic events
of the war and the depression which followed spurred a movement
toward purification and austerity which was embodied in the International Style. Light, space and the free use of technology was called for
and Gothic Revival was an impediment to this. New economic realities
demanded economies in construction.
Suddenly, the Victorian world of the R.A.I.C. journal was penetrated
by a sign of modernism in the March 1930 report on the exhibition of
student's drawings. M.G. Leger, a fifth year student at the Montreal Ecole
Des Beaux Arts submitted a design for an office building with square
lines and abundant glass (Fig. 8). In the April 1930 issue a very modernistic design for "A Modern Ontario Home" received 5th prize (Fig. 9).
The june 1930 issue commented editorially on a debate between a modernist and a traditionalist and in the December 1930 issue there appeared
a report on an address by the German modernist, Dr. Erich Mendelsohn
to the Architectural Association in London, England. In it he put forward the fundamental principles of modern architecture and ended by
saying "The wall free of load, ... opens up the whole surface between
A change in attitude was immediately apparent in the journal. As
early as june of 1927, in the review of the Architectural Exhibition at
the Montreal Art Gallery, ornamentation in buildings had been questioned and mention was made of the lack of adaptability to modern
technology in traditional buildings. By May 1931, jacques Carlu, Director of the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts was attacking tradition in
the pages of the journal. He attacked stylists who denied their steel with
stone and asserted that only modernists preserved the fine tradition of
true expression of structure and material. In the same issue Le Corbusier
is quoted, "The house is a machine for living in" and "Our old houses
are like old coaches filled with tuberculosis." The once loved Victorian
architecture was again attacked in the journal of September 1932 by P.W.
Thompson in a reprint of his Mail and Empire article "Toronto's Heritage
12
SSAC BULLETIN 2:87
The lighting fixtures
one of which is pictured
above
were designed
by Messrs. Chapman and
Oxley, Architects, and executed by Metal Studios.
Metal Studios Limited
H ami lto n, Ontario
Figure 5. Daily Star Building, 19th Century picturesque or modern design.
the structural supports." The age of modern architecture had clearly arrived in the pages of the R.A.I.C. journal but traditional attitudes would
persist for at least five more years.
~r Jfournal
· 1Uoynl Arrhttrrtural
{·nstitutr of ([anaila
6iret
Gl,uarterl~
1eeue
Figure 6. Gothic font for all titles and headlines of the R.A.I.C. Journal1924.
THE JOURNAL
ROYAL ARCHITECTURAl
INSTITUTE Of CANADA
Even Eric Arthur was having doubts in his December 1933 review
of the R.A.I.C. Exhibition in Montreal "We can't seriously, in 1933, go
back to Tudor England or Francis 1st unless a client demands it." john
M. Lyle thought Eric Arthur was going modern and credited it to the
influence of the Ernest Cormier house in Montreal, (February 1934, Correspondence) but the reader of the May 1934 journal is hardly prepared
for the viciousness of Arthur's attack on traditional architecture. Refering to the Queen's Park Legislature, Victoria College and Toronto City
Hall he said "In an architect's Utopia a disposition to arson would be
one of the great virtues" and "Rarely has a single individual wielded
so great an influence on the architecture of his day as (H.H.) Richardson, and one can only regret that he was so completely ignorant of its
real nature and purpose" and further "That they (the Canadian architects
influenced by Richardson) failed to produce a single building of distinction may be explained by the general level of taste throughout the world
(in the 1870s to 1890s)." By 1938, Eric Arthur had permitted john Alford
in the foreword to his book, The Early Buildings of Ontario, to refer
to the revival styles of Romanesque, Gothic and Tudor as a hotch-potch
of degenerate styles.
The loathing for Victorian architecture was fairly general by the time
of Emile Venne's article in the july 1935 journal "The Modern Trend
in Domestic Architecture." He called traditional architecture a wornout and romantic living in the past and suggested that microbes collected
in the decoration of the old architecture. William Lescaze, too, was concerned about germs in the April 1937 journal article "Why Modern Architecture?" when he said "It is absurd that we of the 20th Century should
waste our time, our energies, our health, within the meaningless and
bad copies of past civilizations."
The proud owner of a traditional house in the 1980s might find all
of this invective rather amusing but it was more understandable in the
1930s. Austerity often follows a period of excess such as Victorian picturesque eclecticism. A wakening working class could now aspire to an
individual house with modern creature comforts even if the Depression
prevented its attainment for many. It was a time when streamlining was
equated, strangely, with comfort. The public health campaigns of the
early years of the twentieth-century had borne fruit in a more aware
population who understood sanitation and sunlight and wanted it for
their fam ilies. Clean kitchens and bathrooms were demanded, as well
as large clear glass windows. The times would no longer tolerate dirt,
darkness and degeneracy.
Naturally, the realization fell somewhat short of the dream. Gropius,
Mies and Le Corbusier had never intended to dehumanize the cores of
cities but the misuse of their styles contributed much to what has happened. MacLean's Magazine (December 21 , 1981) refers to " ...the sterile
parameters of the international style modernism-the glass box in the
windswept plaza." Even in 1931 in the May R.A.I.C. journal E.H. Blake
was reacting to Le Corbusier. "We may all of us be in revolt against the
stuffy over-decoration and the distracting gimcracks of the Victorian age,
but we still want books and pictures; ... colour and pattern ...the privacy
that can only be got from the use of curtains; and the quiet that can only
be got from the use of rugs... We do not find in concrete a suitable or
pleasant material for domestic buildings; and we fail to see that a
steamer's superstructure presents the most appropriate or even the most
healthy model for an urban dwelling." In the 1935 and 1936 journals,
writers expressed concern at the boredom and lack of variety in the International Style.
Certainly, one of the most disturbing aspects of the arrival of Modernism was the destruction of the Victorian City. jacques Dalibard of
Heritage Canada refers to the imposition by developers and politicians
of a "single-generation image on our communitites," so typical of North
America but not of Europe; the destruction of the creations of a hundred past generations. In her book, The Death and Life of Great
American Cities, jane jacobs laments the loss of buildings of the Victorian age and the consequent sociological problems. In an Ottawa
Citizen article (December 28, 1974) architect john Leaning writes of traditional architecture in which " ...ornament was everywhere ... breaking
down the hard lines of structure into soft, playful and humanly understandable forms. " Loss of things familiar to humans is perhaps the greatest
condemnation levelled at modernism.
JANUARY
1928
\" til. V . No I
of Ugliness." He said, "The late Victorian era, the worst, from an architectural standpoint, that the world has ever known, arrived in all its
hideousness" and then suggested " ... Toronto ... must cleanse her streets
of mean and debasing structures ... " In February of the same year even
john M. Lyle was reported in the March journal asking whether Canadian architecture would turn to the International Style or " ...remain a
dead thing chained to the moss-grown chariot of Rome or to the mystic
spirit of the middle ages?"
TORONTO . CANADA
Figure 7. January 1918 R.A .I.C. Journal set in classical lettering.
So, what Calder Lath and julius T. Sadler referred to as "The Only
Proper Style: Gothic Architecture in America" persisted overly long and
then died to the accompaniment of much vituperation. Traditional ar13
THE J< >l'H); .\1 .. H< l\".\1. .- \HCIIITECTL'H.-\1. l).ISTITUTE OF C.-I.N.-\DA
4
.-oDI:P.N ONT4P.IO HOM(.
U---~-----L-----------------EB
#' •JIA J•ro :..· -
F..
~l.
H)RHF.:o;, TOROSTO
Figure 9. 5th prize in 1920 "Modern Ontario Home" design competition.
chitecture lay buried under modernism for 50 years but we now see a
rebirth in post-modernism. Preservationists no longer have to work quite
so hard to protect what is left of our Victorian architectural heritage and
that is good. However, preservationists will soon have to address
themselves to the protection of what was good from the past 50 years.
In the meantime developers will cash in on the rebirth of traditionalism
and most of what they build will not be great architecture (Fig. 10). This
certainly illustrates the overimportance attached to style. The undoubted
influence of William Morris on the Modern movement, not only through
Arts and Crafts but also through the Bauh,[iuS, shows that formal considerations are only part of what emerges as important from any age.
Above all, he called for "well-building," quality in conception, design
and execution and that is what emerged as common in the work of such
disparate architects as Eric Arthur. john M. Lyle, Walter Gropius and
Mies van der Rohe.
Figure 10. Developers profit from rebirth of traditionalism.
14 SSAC BULLETIN
2:87
Fort Au'Appelle, the old Hudson's Bay Company store built in 1897.
Report from Sakatchewan
By Frank Korvemaker
Publications
The Saskatchewan Association of Architects recently published a
coffee table book entitled "Historic Architecture of Saskatchewan." This
hard cover, 184 page book includes 288 illustrations, 210 of which are
in full colour. The book looks at the variety of Saskatchewan's formal
and vernacular architecture, discusses some of the historical
developments in the built environment, and includes an illustrated
glossary of architectural styles found in the province. "Historic Architecture in Saskatchewan" was released just before Christmas 1986, and most
of the 3200 copies printed were sold by the end of january, necessitating
a second printing. Profits from the book will go toward establishment
of a fund to study architecture in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Musems Association has published "Saskatchewan Museums - A Traveller's Discovery Guide." The 110 page book
includes information on Saskatchewan's more than 200 museums, many
of which are accomodated in historic buildings. Hence, a visit to these
museums also permits the visitor an opportunity to experience some of
Saskatchewan's historic architecture. The size of these structures varies
from a small one room log cabin to large railway stations and former
banks and post offices. The book is available from the Saskatchewan
Museums Association, 1870 Lorne Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P
2L7 (Cost: $4.00).
Heritage Designations
Municipalities continue to designate a variety of heritage buildings
under the Heritage Property Act. This enabling legislation was passed
in late 1980, and since then approximately 400 sites and structures have
been formally recognized and protected throughout the province as
Municipal Heritage Property. While this list includes a number of
prehistoric sites and a small number of engineering structures, the vast
majority of designations have been of historic buildings.
In light of municipalities now having their own authority to designate
heritage sites, the provincial government has been able to concentrate
on only selecting sites of major provincial significance for designation
as Provincial Heritage Property. To date, 22 such structures have been
recognized at the provincial level, with another five buildings slated for
designation later this year. These new designations are all court houses,
four of which were designed by Saskatchewan architect, Maurice Sharon,
the Provincial Architect from 1916-30. Under his direction, many of
Saskatchewan's most impressive public buildings were erected. That a
significant number of those buildings are still extant today can be credited
to both his architectural talents and to the high quality of workmanship
which went into those buildings during his 15 year tenure. A detailed
biography of Maurice Sharon is not yet available, and any information
on this architect could be forwarded to Frank Korvemaker, Heritage
Resources Branch, Saskatchewan Culture and Recreation, 1942 Hamilton
Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3V7 (tel. [306]787-5875).
Restoration News
Stanley Mission - Holy Trinity Anglican Church, . built over a six
year period from 1854 to 1860, stands today as the oldest extant building
in Saskatchewan. Over the past 70 years, the Red River frame structure,
covered with wood siding, has been subjected to several restoration
phases, the latest of which occured during the past three years, when
a joint federal-provincial restoration program injected over $200,000 into
replacing the foundation and rotting sills. Further work on the building,
one of the largest frame churches in Saskatchewan, will eventually also
see restoration of the wood shingle roof and reconstruction of the original
spire which was removed sometime between 1923 and 1940.
Regina - The provincial government assisted the University of Regina
during 1986 in restoring and rehabilitating Darke Hall for Music and
Art. Built in 1929, the brick building suffered from extreme foundation
deterioration and has undergone a total foundation restoration, new roof,
interior restoration and utility upgrading.
Yorkton - The provincial government spent just over $1 million to
restore the old Yorkton Court House in 1985, and the building is now
in the final stages of being designated as a Provincial Heritage Proper15
ty. This buiding is one of many public buildings in Saskatchewan designed by provincial architect Maurice Sharon. It dates to 1926, and its
restoration by the province is part of a program to rehabilitate Saskatchewan's court houses. Where appropriate, historic restoration is integrated into this program. As a result, the Yorkton Court House stands
as a benchmark standard for future public restoration work in this province, and is the first major government restoration project here since
the completion of Government House in 1980.
Fort Qu'Appelle - The old Hudson's Bay Company Store, built in
1897, marks the transition of the Hudson's Bay Company from a fur trade
enterprise to a retail marketing business. This is the oldest such store
extant in Saskatchewan, and was acquired by the provincial government
and partly restored in the 1970's. Designated a Provincial Heritage Property in 1983, it was sold to a private developer in 1985 and rehabilitated
for use as a mini-mall. The building now accommodates six new
businesses in the community. The exterior has been restored to its c.
1910 appearance, while the interior is renovated with an historic flavour.
New Society
Stanley Mission - Holy Trinity Anglican Church
The Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society was established
on May 2, 1986, with its primary objectives including the identification,
preservation and development of sites and structures of heritage
significance. The society will look at structures from a broad "architectural" perspective, including formal and vernacular architecture,
engineering structures, monuments and other features , such as stone
walls, historic trails, shrines tunnels, bombing targets relating to the
World War II air training programs, etc. Many of the objectives and activities of this society will complement those of the Society for the Study
of Architecture in Canada on a provincial level. Information on membership, program and related data will be published in future reports.
Preservation of Railway Stations
The Town of Unity is presently negotiating an agreement with VIA
Rail for on-site preservation of their former CNR Station. The proposed
agreement will see the Town take over responsibility for maintenance
of the station, with VIA Rail as a partial tenant. The remainder of the
building will be made available to the community for its use. If this agreement is ratified, it will be a first in this province, and perhaps lead to
similar joint use of railway stations elsewhere in Saskatchewan.
Agreements have been struct with CN Rail over the past seven years
for the on-site preservation of about 20 railway stations, provided those
structures were located on Branch Lines, and that the community took
over total responsibility for use, maintenance, and public liability. A
number of those stations now serve their communities as libraries, community halls, town offices, or museums.
Losses
Regina's Darke Hall for Music and Art restored in 1986.
The prominent architectural firm of Storey and VanEgmond, from
Regina, designed seven major public schools between 1907 and 1909,
as well as numerous such structures after that time. Three of those early schools (Lemberg - 1907, Albert School, Regina - 1907, and Yanda 1909) were demolished during the past two years. Others have gone down
before in Elbow (1909) and Hanley (1909). The loss of historic school
buildings is a major concern for those who appreciate Saskatchewan's
architectural heritage. To date, no clear resolution to the conflict between the need for "modern" school facilities and the need for redevelopment of historic schools into the life of the community has been achieved.
Maple Creek - The Parsons Block, constructed in 1903, was one of
two buildings in Saskatchewan that was faced with pressed metal and
cast iron columns supplied by Mesker Brothers out of St. Louis, Missouri.
Standing at the main intersection of Maple Creek, it was identical to
the Cypress Hotel, across the street. The Parsons Block burned down
in 1986, a major loss to the architectural heritage of this province.
Indian Head - This community, situated along the CPR main line
and Trans Canada Highway, lost two important heritage buildings in
1986. The old Power Plant, the oldest such structure standing in Saskatchewan, partly collapsed in 1985, and all of the building except the free
standing smoke stack was subsequently deemed to be structurally unsound and demolished. During 1986 negotiations with CP Rail over the
future of the CP Station at Indian Head became academic when a local
wrecking crew dismantled the building for salvage. The brick station
was of a unique design, and was one of only a few stations left along
the main line of the CPR in Saskatchewan.
Yorkton Court House a restoration bill of over $1,000,000.00.
16 SSAC BULLETIN
2:87
Weyburn - The 1911 brick Post Office, with its prominent mansard
roof and four-storey clock tower was demolished in 1986 after almost
a year of discussions failed to find an economically viable way of
rehabilitating the structure. This major landmark in Weyburn was one
of five such structures designed by Dominion Architect David Ewart
and built in Saskatchewan between 1911 and 1914. Today three remain:
Maple Creek's Parsons Block constructed in 1903 burned down in 1986.
The Power Plant, the oldest such structure in Saskatchewan was one of
two heritage buildings lost to Indian Head in 1986.
Indian Head's CPR Station was dismantled for salvage even as negotiations
were underway to save the building.
A preservation agreement concerning the CPR Station at Kerrobert was
established.
Herbert- CPR Station.
CN Station Woldheim (1912} is now a library.
17
at Battleford, Melfort and Humboldt. The Battleford building has been
restored by Public Works Canada and both it and the Melfort structure
are still in use as local post offices. The Humboldt building has been
designated a Municipal Heritage Property and houses the community
museum.
Successes
While school preservation is a major problem in many Saskatchewan
communities, three success stories have recently emerged. In Swift Current, the old Central School [1914) has been designated a Municipal
Heritage Property by the City, and it continues in use as a public school.
Meanwhile, an unusual turn of events in North Battleford saw the abandonment of the Cairns High School [1912) by the public board, and its
subsequent rehabilitation by the separate school board and reuse as a
fully modernized high school for the Roman Catholic School system in
that community. A similar rehabilitation of the Sacred Heart Separate
School [1928) in Regina may indicate that the educational system in
Saskatchewan is considering the economic benefits of revitalization of
older schools instead of undertaking new construction and demolition
costs.
Lemberg School
•
New fire hall for the City of Regina in corporotes some historic elements.
Kerrobert and Herbert - While CP Rail won a legal battle with the
province and communities regarding the designation of railway stations
as heritage property, the company did enter into two preservation
agreements with local communities to preserve their stations on the rightof-way property. At Kerrobert, the station remains on its original location, though fenced off from the track. At Herbert, the building was moved nearer the road, parallel to the tracks, thereby removing the structure from proximity to trains travelling the main line at speeds of about
85 km per hour.
New Construction
Regina - The City of Regina commissioned the construction of a new
fire hall, to replace the historic No. 1 Fire Hall in the downtown area.
[The historic building has been designated a Municipal Heritage Property, and alternate use proposals are now being solicited.] The new
building, situated along one of Regina's main traffic routes - Albert Street
- was designed by the local architectural firm of Stone-Croft Architects
Ltd. The brown brick structure is highlighted with a red metal roof,
various dormers and a prominent clock tower, reminiscent of the old
Fire Hall. This new building is situated within the transition area, where
downtown and the old residential areas blend. Its design is unquestionably modern, but incorporates some of the detailing and human scale
which are so appealing in historic structures.
Saskatoon - A major addition has been constructed to the back of
the Administration Builing on the University of Saskatchewan campus.
The original structure dates to 1910, and was designed by Montreal architects Brown and Valance, who were responsible for the design of many
of the historic university buildings at both Saskatoon and Regina.
Designated a Provincial Heritage Property in 1982, the Administration
Building is too small for current administrative needs and required major structural repairs. The new addition combines the historic use of stone
(prominent on other campus buildings] with cut stone, to create a sympathetic, but modern addition.
Public Relations
CBC - Wayne Zelmer Restoration, Architect with the Heritage
Resources Branch of the provincial government, achieved a successful
production of 12 sixty-second vignettes relating to heritage sites
throughout Saskatchewan. These were produced in conjunction with
the book "Historic Architecture of Saskatchewan" and help promote both
the book and the architectural resources of the province. Copies of the
vignettes, on a single VCR tape, are available; for details contact Wayne
Zelmer, Heritage Resources Branch, Saskatchewan Culture and Recreation, 1942 Hamilton Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3V7 (tel. [306)
787-5874).
Department of Education - Wayne Zelmer also co-ordinated the
Heritage Resources Branch's involvement in the production of three 8
minute productions relating to the restoration of Holy Trinity Anglican
Church, Stanley Mission, the Doukhobour Prayer Home, Veregin, and
ihe preservation of archaeological resources along the Churchill River.
Copies of this tape are available from the Department of Education, which
produced them as part of their educational program entitled "A Fine
Science." That program is broadcast on CBC and the VCR tapes are used in the school system. Further details may be obained from Ann Curry,
Curriculum Development Division, Saskatchewan Education, 2220 College Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3V7.
East facade Weyburn Post Office Building lost in 1986.
18
SSAC BULLETIN 2:87
SSAC Annual Conference 1987 Toronto
S.S.A.C. President Douglas Franklin chairs Annual General Meeting in
Hart House debates room 29 May, 1987.
Barbara Frum chairs public symposium organized by the Bureau of
Architecture and Urbanism with participants Kurt Forster, Donald
McKay, Colin Vaughan, George Baird and George Kapelos.
Stephen Otto and Detlef Mertins discuss the Mechanical Engineering
Building first stop of the Toronto Modern Tour.
Guide, Professor Douglas Richardson, provides the tour group a view
from top of University College Tower.
Next Issue
Volume 12, lssue-3, September 1987
Jean Friesen
The Heritage ofthe River RoadManitoba
Gwendolyn Dowsett
The Vernacular Architecture of Two
Ethnic Groups in Manitoba
Past President Christina Cameron and Conference Guest Speaker Alan
Gowans.
19