Canadian Architect


Canadian Architect announces the passing of former editor Anthony Jackson

July 24, 2015
by Canadian Architect

Anthony Jackson (September 4, 1926-July 22, 2015), architectural theorist and historian, was a person of remarkable dignity, wisdom and nobility. Born in the East End of London, early on he distinguished himself academically and attended the Regent’s Street Polytechnic, where he studied architecture from ages 16 to 18. From 1945 to 1948 he served in the Intelligence Corps and participated in the British withdrawal from India before returning to London to complete his studies. In 1949 he married celebrated artist Sarah Jeanette Jackson, with whom he shared a similar passion for art, ideas and social justice.

anthony jackson

anthony jackson

Following graduation he was part of the Design Research Unit, which designed exhibitions for the Festival of Britain in 1951, and lectured in design at the Municipal College, Southend on Sea. In 1956 he participated with Sarah in the seminal art exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

The couple moved to Canada in 1956, settling in Ottawa where he worked for the Canadian Government Exhibition Commission, and then Toronto, where Tony was Technical Editor and later Executive Editor of The Canadian Architect from 1959-1962.

In 1963 the family moved to Halifax, where he had been offered a job at the newly established School of Architecture at the Technical University of Nova Scotia. Tony was an influential professor at the School of Architecture for nearly 30 years (serving as Acting Dean in 1977), inspiring his students to deeply question and reflect on their education.

Jackson’s publications include: The Politics of Architecture (1970), A Place Called Home (1976), The Democratization of Canadian Architecture (1978), The Future of Canadian Architecture (1979), Space in Canadian Architecture (1981), and Reconstructing Architecture (1995). His writings offer concentrated, clear, and incisive critiques of the architectural profession, and promote buildings that reflect the values of the people who inhabit them. His ideas on the significant role that vernacular building styles might play in architectural design are expressed both in his writings and through his students’ implementation of these concepts in their designs.

A person of outstanding integrity, generosity and fairness, he was deeply respected by friends and family; he will be greatly missed. Funeral services were held Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 2:00pm at Cruikshank’s Funeral Home, followed by a graveside service at Beth Israel Synagogue cemetery. He is survived by his daughter Naomi, and son, Timothy. Letters/cards may be sent to Naomi Jackson, 1956 E. Citation Lane, Tempe, AZ 85284, or by e-mail at [email protected].



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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3 Comments » for Canadian Architect announces the passing of former editor Anthony Jackson

    I was one of Tony’s students (B. Arch. NSTC ’72). I had no idea he did all those things. He didn’t talk about himself a lot.

    He was a great teacher and, a rarity in architectural schools, an intellectual. I loved his lectures and his formidable collection of slides. His exam questions were always challenging and stimulating though I must admit my own answers were sometimes way short of his expectations. When you nailed something, he told you and those moments made my day.

    It was only after reading the verbose and vapid banality of most architectural theorizing that I really appreciated his honest and rigorous approach.

    He could be vastly intimidating to young architectural students with his steely gaze and clipped responses but he was always more than ready to engage in discussion. He was no time waster or place holder and he would do his formidable best to instill some insight and erudition into students who mostly just wanted to draw stuff.

    I am grateful that he taught me and I am very sorry to hear of his death.

  2. As with Phillip, I too was one of Tony’s students (M.Arch., TUNS ’91), and his comments have eloquently expressed my sentiments as well. While the intimidating “steely gaze and clipped responses” also resonates in my memory, I have a particular personal experience that pops into sharp relief against this impression, now as a cherished recollection. It somehow came about at one point, likely in my last year, that Tony asked if I would come to his house to help with some home-maintenance task – I think it was getting the leaves out of the gutters or something. Aside from a little surprise, I remember feeling strangely honored to be called upon in such a way. He must have sensed a work ethic or handi-man ability in me, or maybe my “poor student” persona was more obvious than my classmates, but anyhow, I enjoyed an alternate, perhaps rare, glimpse into the personal side of Professor Jackson and his home. He had a kind and personable nature that may have been unfairly hidden from his students. With the task completed, we shared a drink and a chat at his kitchen table, and the extra cash he tucked in my hand on the way out “for a date with my wife” was a welcome treat. I was happy to do it, and I learned much from him.
    Thank you Tony!

  3. Brian Powell says:

    Students who attended the Southend School of Architecture in the 1950’s will recall the contribution this amazing man made to our education. Incisive, he had a way with him which, in my experience, was unique.

    I cannot add to the 2 excellent comments made by Philip and Frank, neither would I wish to. They have described his contribution to our education so succinctly I feel that any further comments by me would be superfluous . I agree with everything they say. Anthony Jackson would have been pleased with their contribution.

    I am disappointed that it has taken nearly 3 years for me to read of his death, but grateful that Canadian Architect has recorded his life, and to the internet for providing the facilities.

    Thank you.

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