Victoria Modern: Investigating Postwar Architecture and Design on Southern Vancouver Island, an Introduction

Foreword by Christopher Thomas. Victoria: Maltwood Art Museum & Gallery, University of Victoria, 2005.

This University of Victoria publication makes the argument that the city of Victoria is not an outdated backwater town characterized by a pastiche of quaintly irrelevant English style, but rather that it, like many other Canadian cities, enjoyed its own Modernist heyday. Along with Christopher Thomas, Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Victoria, contributors include Martin Segger, Beth Macdonald and Christopher Lefler, and their essays confirm that 1945-1975 was a period of intense growth and building in Victoria, a boom that is seeing a resurgence in present day. A range of buildings are acknowledged, from professionally designed to vernacularly constructed, from elite and expensive to compact and popular. Featured are 1950s homes by figures such as Ron Thom, buildings comprising the University of Victoria campus, de Hoog D’Ambrosio Rowe’s 2001-2004 Selkirk Waterfront development (CA, November 2004) and recent work by Vancouver’s Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Architects. As academics, the contributors devote an entire chapter to the methodology applied to the project: Action Research. Another chapter examines the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan (1967) through the lens of International Style Modernism. It is intended that this publication be the first of a series of similar publications concerning the built fabric of postwar Victoria and its neighbours on Vancouver Island.