No Misgivings On Mastery

A LONGTIME ADMIRER, INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIAN AND CRITIC KENNETH FRAMPTON WEIGHS IN ON THE CAREER OF DAN HANGANU.

TEXT KENNETH FRAMPTON

Dan Hanganu is a justly revered Canadian architect of Romanian origin whose reputation on the national and international stage has long since deserved the ultimate distinction of the Gold Medal.

It is an honour for me to be asked to write a brief tribute to the achievement of a lifetime of dedicated practice, and in so doing to remind myself that I have known Dan Hanganu and his work for over a quarter of a century–that is to say even since his first row housing for Nuns’ Island, dating from 1980, a canonical exceptionally sensitive piece of low-rise high-density housing in brick, the realization of which I publicly celebrated as soon as it was published.

Now some 50-odd works later, most of which I have never seen, one is forcibly struck by the prodigious output of the office as a whole, entailing numerous buildings designed by both himself and his wife, Anca. Within this impressive and fertile trajectory, there are a number of works which stand out in my personal memory for the unique spirit and quality that they exude. In particular, the understated but rigorous Pavillon de Design for the Universit du Qubec Montral (UQM) (1995), the social housing of Habitations de Sienne/ Ste-Lucie, the church in the monastery of St-Benot-du-Lac (1994) and the Pointe–Callire Museum of Archaeology (1992) in Old Montreal. This is Dan in his monumental btiment d’angle mode; a highly elaborated quasi-classical piece which could hardly be in greater contrast to the spirited, colourful hi-tech environment he would realize five years later for the Cirque du Soleil.

What more can one say except that this is a proven master architect who, despite his perennial misgivings about being a displaced figure, is indisputably a talented Canadian designer who, through his faithful and rigorous work has a proven commitment to both the cultural heritage of Canada and the city of Montreal.CA

Kenneth Frampton is the Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University in New York.

X