Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2011

Campeau in Alta Vista

One of the biggest builders in Ottawa during the 1950s and 1960s was Campeau Construction, a name still known today, even though the builder is no longer active. Many of the houses in Alta Vista were custom built, but Campeau was one of the first builders to construct tract homes in the area. Beginning in the 1950s Campeau began building houses southwest of Kilborn Avenue and Alta Vista Drive, north of Randall Avenue. At the time, bungalows and one-and-a-half storey houses were most popular. Many of the “Victory Houses” built by Wartime Housing Ltd. for returning veterans after WWII were one-and-a-half stories, and the style soon became very popular for all builders. Below are some of Campeau's one-and-a-half storey plans built in the area:


With time, the one-and-a-half storey house became less popular, and bungalows and split-level houses became the norm. An easy way to determine the age of houses on a street in Alta Vista is to look at the style of the houses. If there are many on…

The inner circle - MCM near downtown

A reader of the blog has asked if there are any Mid-Century Modern neighbourhoods close to downtown. While the largest neighbourhoods are in more suburban locations, there are a few smaller pockets closer to the urban core. Here is first in a series that looks at some of the MCM hot-spots close to downtown: When one thinks of the Civic Hospital area, traditionally-styled houses from the 1920s-1940s immediately come to mind. But, there are a surprising number of houses that stand out from their Tudor-revival neighbours.Along Sherwood Drive, near Carling Avenue, is a string of MCM houses:

The end of Larchwood Avenue, off of Sherwood Drive, is the location of these houses:
Other areas in the Civic Hospital neighbourhood include parts of Irving Place, and the Eastern end of Beech Street: 
Just south of the Beechwood Cemetery in Vanier, is a pocket of MCM houses, many with stunning rooflines: 



Rideau Gardens, near Main Street and the Rideau River, has a few streets with MCM houses – som…
A comment by a reader about their house with a carport at the entry got me thinking about carports and Mid-Century Modern housing design. Today, carports have been replaced with full garages in new construction, but there was a time not so long ago when carports were very much in fashion.   The carport as the entry point to a house made sense for a society, and a suburban way of life, that embraced the car as a mode of transport. Scores of suburban families even today still arrive and depart from home by car, and thus enter and exit their house via the door from the house to the garage. Designers in the mid-century foresaw this trend, and thus put the front door right next to where the car would be parked.
The carport allows for a degree of protection, yet still allows for the car to be on display. With the amount of money spent on a car, why not show it off? The design of Case Study House #21 by Pierre Koenig, has a wall of glass in the dining room overlooking the carport. In this ca…

California Modern in Ottawa

During the mid-century era, California became the epicentre of modern design. From the architect-designed case-study houses, to the mundane tract house, all eyes were on California. In Canada, books and periodicals on architecture filled with Californian design would have sparked the imagination of Architects and designers.

When one thinks of Mid-Century Modern (MCM) California tract housing, the name ‘Eichler’ often comes to mind. Perhaps one of the most famous MCM tract builders, Joseph Eichler, defined MCM design in the United States. His widely-published designs even captured the imagination of Canadians. Any designer/architect in the know would have seen an Eichler plan. In Ottawa, there are a few examples of houses built in the 1960s with floor plans that could have been influenced by those being built by Eichler. The most famous Eichler-built designs are those with an open-air atrium at the centre.
One of the floor plans built by Teron in Beaverbrook during the 1960s features wha…