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.


  1. Happy to see homes from the 70s! Look forward to seeing some more!

  2. These are stunning. Thanks very much for opening my eyes to the beauty of late mid-century design.

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading your previous posts and I’m looking forward to reading your work on this new topic. Many ‘70s suburban homes – especially the ones where wood siding and boxy spaces dominate the design – seem like summer cottages. I sometimes wonder if one influenced the other.