Newfoundland Modern

Newfoundland Modern: Architecture in the Smallwood Years, 1949-1972

ROBERT MELLIN
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1283mc
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  • Book Info
    Newfoundland Modern
    Book Description:

    In over 220 drawings and photographs, Robert Mellin presents the development of architecture in the decades immediately following Newfoundland's 1949 union with Canada. Newfoundland's wholehearted embrace of modern architecture in this era affected planning as well as the design of cultural facilities, commercial and public buildings, housing, recreation, educational facilities, and places of worship, and Premier Joseph Smallwood often relied on modern architecture to demonstrate the progress made by his administration. Mellin explores the links between Smallwood and modern architecture, revealing how Smallwood guided the development of numerous architectural projects. He also looks at the work of two innovative local architects, Frederick A. Colbourne and Angus J. Campbell, showing how their architecture was influenced by their life-long interest in art. The first comprehensive work on an important period of architectural development in urban and rural Newfoundland, Newfoundland Modern complements Mellin's award-winning book on the outport of Tilting, Fogo Island.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8741-0
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-18)

    I first visited St John’s in 1973 when I was in my last year of undergraduate study in architecture, and the city made a strong impression on me. Its historic and compact downtown represented the vibrant type of city that architecture students were obsessed with at the time, having come under the influence of Jane Jacobs’s bookThe Death and Life of Great American Cities.¹ The architecture of old St John’s had a somewhat austere character, expressed through sombre colours and a remarkable consistency of detail and materials. At that time, the precious ornamentation on houses and bold colour schemes...

  6. Part One: Modernism Takes Hold
    • CHAPTER TWO EARLY MODERNISM
      (pp. 23-42)

      The way architects were commissioned for projects was very conservative in pre-Confederation Newfoundland, and to an extent this continued in the decades just after Confederation. It was commonly understood and accepted that an architect’s religious affiliation determined eligibility for particular commissions, and not just for the design of buildings for worship but also for denominational schools. As St John’s architect Frank Noseworthy told me, “You have to understand that at that particular time, you had a situation where your affiliation with a particular denomination meant the work you were getting. Fred Colbourne was Anglican, and he did all the Anglican...

    • CHAPTER THREE THE FORMATIVE YEARS OF THE NAA
      (pp. 43-54)

      The Newfoundland Association of Architects was certified on 10 November 1949, soon after Newfoundland’s entry into the Canadian Confederation on 31 March 1949. Its eight charter members were F.A. Colbourne, R.F. Horwood, John E. Hoskins, T.A. Lench, William D. McCarter, F.P. Meschino, H. Graham Rennie, and William Ryan (Figure 3.1). A.J. Hazelgrove, president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, formally received the NAA at the inaugural dinner (the RAIC works with provincial associations).¹ Ryan’s 1958 sketch of the founding of the NAA is presented as an appendix to this book.²

      Architects practising in Newfoundland in the era following the...

  7. PART TWO: MODERN ARCHITECTURE IN CANADA’S HAPPY PROVINCE
    (pp. 57-60)

    Modern architecture was well represented and even celebrated in a Newfoundland government publication titledNewfoundland: Canada’s Happy Province.¹ This roughly 200-page book, whose title page promised “The remarkable story of Newfoundland’s progress since she joined the Canadian Federation,” was published for the 1966 “Come Home Year.”² Premier Joey Smallwood’s introductory essay describes “the miracle of Confederation”: “If you are a Newfoundlander of forty or more you know the miracle of Confederation in Newfoundland; you know it, and you marvel. You need to have lively recollections of what Newfoundland was like before, if you are to understand.”³ According to Smallwood, the...

  8. Part Three: Two Newfoundland Architects
    • CHAPTER ELEVEN FREDERICK A. COLBOURNE
      (pp. 169-199)

      Frederick August Colbourne(1910–89) was one of the most creative architects in Newfoundland in the era straddling Confederation (Figure 11.2). He was born in Tilt Cove, Notre Dame Bay, and when he was two years old his family moved to the west end of St John’s. When he was young he enjoyed playing baseball. He was a member of the Church Lads Brigade (CLB), and in school he did well in art and geometry.¹ He attended Bishop Feild College and subsequently moved to Grand Falls, where his father obtained a position as a machinist with the paper mill. For a...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE ANGUS J. CAMPBELL
      (pp. 200-250)

      Angus John Campbell (1924–2001) was one of the first post-Confederation Newfoundland architects to embrace modern architecture wholeheartedly (Figure 12.1). He began painting when he was young and continued throughout his life (Figure 12.2), and at an early age he became interested in architecture, particularly the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Campbell felt that architects were really artists at heart.¹

      Angus was the son of John Campbell, a fisheries broker from St John’s, and Mary Halley, daughter of William and Annie Halley, owners of the prominent St John’s firm Halley and Company. He was born in St John’s in 1924...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN CONCLUSION
      (pp. 251-259)

      Modern architecture in the Smallwood era did not have a particular character or style. Although Frederick A. Colbourne’s and Angus J. Campbell’s buildings showed consistency of design and detail, on the whole a fairly diverse collection of buildings was constructed in Newfoundland in the 1950s and 1960s. It is impossible to represent the collective nature of modern architecture in Newfoundland. Consider, for example, the Pope Residence in Grand Bank (Figure 5.14), which followed a 1963 plan fromChatelainemagazine and could have been constructed anywhere in North America. However, if I had to use just one word to describe modern...

  9. APPENDIX: History of the Founding of the NAA, 1958
    (pp. 260-260)
    WILLIAM J. RYAN
  10. NOTES
    (pp. 261-274)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 275-276)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 277-282)