Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eastview aka: Castle Heights/Overbrook

Located north and south of Donald Street, west of St. Laurent, is a pocket of early MCM houses. The area was once part of an area called Eastview, but is now know as Castle Heights or Overbrook.

Below is a map of Ottawa new home developments from 1956 showing Castle Heights as a part of Overbrook.

Interestingly, although both Campeau and Minto built in the area, I have not been able to find too much information on their developments. This map of Campeau developments from a 1959 brochure does not even show Eastview/Castle odd.

Located closest to St. Laurent is the area that was built by Campeau during the 1950s. Below is an article that mentions the first house that Robert Campeau built for himself and then sold for profit in Eastview.

Many of the houses have more traditionally-inspired architecture, yet hint at the mid-century modern trends that were emerging in the architecture world.
The best hint at this modernism is with the corner windows seen on the left house below. This pushing of the windows to the corner of the house - only separated by the structural post - is decidedly modern. The large picture window also set the houses apart from earlier designs.

Three main types of houses were built in the area: the 2-storey foursquare, the 1 1/2 storey house (sometimes called a Cape Cod style house), and bungalows.

Pictures windows on mid-century suburban housing are common. While they may hint at some sort of pastoral 'suburban' view, often they just look right back at the picture window on the house across the street!

Another house with a corner window is pictured above. In the past, houses were designed with more symmetry and regularity in window placement. The stretch of blank wall, and corner windows makes this house thoroughly modern.

Located in the middle of the area south of Donald Street is a pocket of postwar houses that were probably Victory Houses built for returning veterans after WWII. They are all 1 1/2 storey designs. None of the houses have ever gone up for sale, and I have not been able to find out who owns them. I presume they are all rentals. 

When looking at this area of Victory Houses from the air, their unique placement is apparent.

Located north of the Victory Houses is a pocket of detached and semi-detached houses built by Minto.

The corner window arrangement is also found on the houses built by Minto - so it was clearly en vogue at the time.

Above is an ad for the Brook Gardens area built by Minto, which is actually located on the other side of St. Laurent, but shows the same design that was built in Castle Heights.

Semi-detached houses on Donald Street possibly also built by Minto.

Across the south, the houses are mostly multi-family units, including this row of of semi-detached houses with a unique wavy placement.


Above is an ad for houses which where built by E.R. Tremblay on Queen Mary Street. Their advertisement mentions that their show home was located on St. Laurent between Donald Street and Queen Mary Street. The semi-detached houses below are the only residences currently on that strip. Were there more that have been demolished and replaced with the strip malls?

Scattered throughout the area are custom built-houses in a variety of styles. Here is a nice pair with angle stone details and picture windows. A few of the houses in the area were built from CMHC plans.

Located just outside of the subject area, to the north, are a series of U-shaped townhouse courts like this one. I quite like the modern simplicity of the flat-roofed houses. Better landscaping would soften the severity of the modern architecture, and make them look less institutional.