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HIST 3209 (11)
B.S.Elliot (11)
Lecture 5

Week 5 Lecture 1.docx

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Department
History
Course
HIST 3209
Professor
B.S.Elliot
Semester
Winter

Description
Week 5 Lecture 1 – Approaches to the Built Environment th Feb 10 2014 th Due date for paper: April 8 2014 outside his office Today’s lecture: A Historian’s approach to architecture Brick as Wednesday’s lecture  material took a while to reach Ottawa Artistic concrete block as the second material (Wednesday’s lecture) Apartment building also as Wednesday’s topic Three approaches: • Popular local history o Popular heritage pubications; locals who produce works that focus on historic buildings in their area in a broader history o Genre tends to categorize houses with elite architecture – tries to label them with colonial, gothic revival, etc o Gives some architectural comment on style o Big on putting then and now photographs o Talk more about the people hwo lived here rather than the buildings themselves o These don’t really relate to the house • Architectural and art history o Peter Enno’s? critique of this traditionfound and then that style is put into an architectural canon) o i.e. Parks Canada gives one of various styles of houses within Canada o Parks Canada made a series of publications of styles within Canada (i.e. Gothic, Beaux-Art) and say when these styles became prevalent o Style is emphasized – a geneology of styles is presented o Style relates more to the decoration rather than the form (i.e. construction techiguqes, floor layout)  i.e. the style could be in Tudor, while the interior has a modern layout • Folk culture, cultural geography, social history o Includes work of folklores, cultural/human geographers, and cultural and social historians o Represents a shift in focus around 30/40 years ago – from the elite to the common experience o Emphasis more on form, which relates to function rather than on style o Vernacular architecture as a term arising – common use architecture o Use local building materials as common; elite architecture wanted to emulate taste – tries to imitate what is fashionable in the major cities • Books often will judge buildings on canons or design – often look to find patterns of styles o i.e. Billings house 1829  behind Billing’s Bridge shopping center  built by what was then Gloucester  American Federal style architecture – received a national historic site designation o Horaceville Pinhey’s Point 1820 – 49  On Ottawa River in rural part of Kanata  Reflects certain elements of Georgian architecture, but is a vernacular building  Had been rejected for its historic designation – has to fight for provincial status  Arguably more important than the Billing family o For a social historian, buildings are important on what they tell us about society o Polite or formal vs vernacular architecture Social history approaches: • Ideological meanings of style o What ideas about social structure and power do these styles reflect? o Style can capsulate class interest • Regional and ethnic traditions o Allow you to trace geographically and chronologically the ideas and cultural influences o As people migrate, they take their building types with them and the migrate north across the North American continent while evolving to various climates and topographies o Cultural areas can be traced by mapping building types this way • Diffusion of ideas and cultural influences o Changing technologies on construction techniques o All this requires moving beyond the façade of the building and putting them into wider contexts • Changing technology and impact on regional and local identity • Form & layout: social relations (class, family life, gender, privacy) o i.e. look at floorplans and relate them to social relations • The first two approaches will be focused on today’s lecture Ideological meanings of style: banks • Moved beyond the art history approach • Style discussed in terms of social values • Most readily applicable to institution buildings that are attempting to send obvious messages about power • Ellen Gowan’s? book in 1958 • Banks – an institutional form of architecture that has changed dramatically over the years • Sparks Street – Bank of Nova Scotia (now taken by federal government); designed by John M. Lyle in 1923 o Seems like a mausoleum on the interior o Roman and Greek influences on the façade o Intentional to send a message of solidity/permanence – idea that this is a safe place to put your money • Also the same building that terrified Leecock – this intimidation factor convinced banks to radically alter their style of architecture • i.e. Scotiabank – lowslung, glass fronts, modern façade o sends different message – we’re open, accessible, easy to get alone o Bank of Nova Scotia on Main Street, Portland, Saint John, N.B. • Intersection in Guelph had four impressive traditional style banks – they all demolished these buildings in favour for this more modern style • Newer banks more in keeping with the message they wanted to send out • Similar with religious architecture – certain meanings with certain styles (written by Vicki Bennett) • Margaret Visser – the geometry of love (book on European ideological meanings behind architecture) Regional building traditions • Part vernacular architecture – individual building doesn’t mean as much in the context except that it’s part of a larger pattern • We move our focus from the exceptiaonl to the typical • Several ways to approach this: o Certain common features typify areas culturally – sometimes these features are so common that they are sometimes missed o i.e. use of cream coloured Brick in Eastern Ontario more used than in Ottawa • Greek Revival – Pratt’s Hollow, N.Y. o Carries into domestic architecture o In the U.S., the greek style becomes the officially approved stye for government buildings because it makes a visual allusion to the ancient republics of Greece and Rome o When the U.S. declared their independence from Britain, they were concerned to make a case to the world that a republican government can survive in the modern era  They echoed the Greeks and Romans in their architecture o There were roman an dGreek style buildings for Parliament in plan, but then they decided to use Gothic architecture  Gothic architecture associated with British – “we’re not American here” message • Period of housing stock – replacement, continuity o What does it tell us about the past? – a lot is told about their economic history o If a bunch of buildings survive in an area, it tells of poverty o i.e. soil was so good in a certain part of Southern Ontario that people moved their initial loghouses elsewhere to build a better house o in contrary, Ottawa has a large number of log houses because the soil is crap o if there’s many buildings that survive from earlier periods, you can argue that it’s because they aven’t been able to replace them with something better o buildings will also change their function and be replaced – phenomenon of geographical succession  i.e. Woodroffe Avenue – single family homes along an arterial road become businesses as suburbanization continues ot grow  Baseline Road – triplexes eventually taken over by medical profession o Where there is a booming economy, this process can go by quickly  i.e. King Street, Toronto in 1890 vs. 1914  Tremendous economic boom allows commercial street to be built much larger  Wellington street in Ottawa – 1850s it was largely residential construction, 1880s – much of the street gets built in the Mansard roof style, now it is getting rebuilt again by the federal government  Built in various times of economic prosperity o Old Montreal – why does it survive?  Why are there so many original streets and 18 / 19 century buildings?  Part of it is Quebec’s efforts to preserve their identity – large amounts of money put into historic conserv
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