Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Mystery of the Lincoln Heights Moderns

Recently, a reader brought my attention to a handful of mid-century modern houses on the east end of Regina Street in Lincoln Heights that resemble the Eichler-built houses in California, particularly in regards to the roof lines and exposed beams. Unfortunately, I have not been able to dig up any information on these houses - other than that they were built around 1960 - so maybe one of my readers can help?

The one aspect that makes these houses stand out compared to the Eichler-built houses is that the Ottawa versions have large windows overlooking the street. As much as I absolutely adore the Eichler designs (some were designed by my favourite architect A. Quincy Jones), they are very inward looking, often focusing on a central courtyard. The privacy this provides is noteworthy, but so too is the fact that there are few "eyes upon the street" (as per Jane Jacobs). I for one know that I would not be happy in a house without large windows overlooking the street from my living spaces. It makes me feel connected to the community and makes for a safer neighbourhood.

Most of the Eichler houses were built in Northern California, yet below are some of the Eichler designs built in Fairhills, Orange, California. Notice how the front facades are mostly blank: 

Back to Lincoln Heights in Ottawa, I do have some floor plans for houses built in this area. I remember reading an article years ago (perhaps in an old newspaper that I cannot seem to track down) about how the builder Assaly planned to built a large neighbourhood of luxury homes next to the Western Parkway. Assaly did build a number of large detached houses in the early 1970s in the area and in the 1980s MacDonald Homes constructed some more. The remainder of the houses in Lincoln Heights were custom-built in the 1980s and 1990s. There are still a few vacant lots in the area yet to be built on. 

Below are the plans by Assaly. The Quality is not great, but these are scans of the photocopied versions I have.

I do not have the plans for the semi-detached houses, but I suspect that they are the ones on the south side of Regina Street.

Plans by MacDonald Homes:

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