Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interesting blog posting!

Hello readers! 

Below is a link to a an interesting blog post with the history of the CMHC and its influence on the mid-century modern housing that was built coast-to-coast in Canada. There is also a great story about the author and her personal connection to the CMHC. 

Please visit the blog: 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bridlewood: A snapshot of late 1970s design.

The Bridlewood area of Kanata was begun at the end of the 1970s, and continues to grow even today. The first phases of this area have houses which capture the type of architecture and design that I consider quintessential of the time period. Various materials, textures and colours (usually earth-tone) animate the facades. Inside, changes in levels (sunken and raised rooms) and two-storey expanses create vibrant interiors.  

The advertising by the one of the builders, Cadillac Fairview, explains how much thought was put in to the designs:

The following are a selection of the plans in Bridlewood which best capture the 1970s spirit of innovation:

The raised living room with 2-story ceiling is my favourite feature of the design.

This design has vaulted ceilings in three rooms. The raised dining room and kitchen have railings which overlook the rooms below to create a dynamic interior for this plan.

The exposed rafters  of elevation "B" let light in, but also invite the shadows to dance as the day progresses.

This plan seems to be inspired by the houses built in California at the time (I also have a huge collection of Orange County plans from the same time period). The facade is striking with the dramatic roof line!
Front balconies were also a common design aspect at the time.

Cadillac Fairview built similar plans (and additional innovative designs) in other areas of Ottawa - which will be shared in future posts!

Rockford Developments Limited also constructed houses in Bridlewood around the same time.  Here is a sample of some of the Rockford plans which best capture the same spirit of the time:

Elevation 1 and 2 have a vaulted living room.

The open concept living and dining rooms have a vaulted ceiling. This design is very similar to Cadillac Fairview's Sandy Cherry plan.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A New Blog!

Hello readers! I have just launched a new blog, which is about Bramalea (my hometown and the subject of my Master's thesis research). 

Don't worry, as mentioned in my last post, I will continue to update this blog too. 

Please check it out:


Monday, November 4, 2013

A change in direction

You may have noticed a slow-down in the frequency of my postings of late. I am in the thick of reading for my PhD comprehensive exams and working on research proposals. This process has been one of re-discovery and re-thinking the suburban landscape. In particular, my chosen research will be on innovative 1970s-era suburban housing and community design.

Over the next while, my blog will change focus and become a forum for my love affair with 1970s suburban architecture and community design. I hope to entice my readers with the fruit of my research, thus moving the slider past the mid-century and into 1970s and early 1980s.

The 1970s is an era of great creativity and innovation in suburban housing and neighbourhood planning. In many instances, designers sought to re-think housing and community design to create something completely new.

The sensual (and sensory) architecture of the 1970s can be seen as a reaction to mass-produced housing of the post-war period. In a way, it is like a blip in the history of suburban housing in Ontario – a specific moment in time, which has not been repeated. 

Below is a visual montage of what 1970s architecture means to me. These images capture just a fraction of the spirit and beauty of a creative era in housing design. 

I will begin with houses in Ottawa:

Some of my earliest memories of the built landscape are of my childhood street and neighbourhood in Bramalea, Ontario. These houses are in a style which exemplifies the spirit of contemporary 1970s housing. I remember the explosive cacophony of colour, texture, light, and angles that exploded before me. 

My PhD research will also include various communities within Peel Region, Ontario. Here are some visuals the 1970s houses built in those areas.

The Villages of Heart Lake in Brampton:

In Meadowvale and Erin Mills (Mississauga):

This roof-line was referred to as the "flying nun" roof when they were first built!

Stay tuned for more on the 1970s as an exciting moment in time which produced some of the most innovative and avant-garde housing in Ontario Suburbs.