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Distributed for Reaktion Books


Modern Architectures in History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


Modern Architectures in History

Canada is a country of massive size, of diverse geographical features and an equally diverse population—all features that are magnificently reflected in its architecture. In this book, Rhodri Windsor Liscombe  and Michelangelo Sabatino offer a richly informative history of Canadian architecture that celebrates and explores the country’s many contributions to the spread of architectural modernity in the Americas.
            A distinct Canadian design attitude coalesced during the twentieth century, one informed by a liberal, hybrid, and pragmatic mindset intent less upon the dogma of architectural language and more on thinking about the formation of inclusive spaces and places. Taking a fresh perspective on design production, they map the unfolding of architectural modernity across the country, from the completion of the transcontinental railway in the late 1880s through to the present. Along the way they discuss architecture within the broader contexts of political, industrial, and sociocultural evolution; the urban-suburban expansion; and new building technologies. Examining the works of architects and firms such as ARCOP, Eric Arthur, Ernest Cormier, Brigitte Shim, and Howard Sutcliffe, this book brings Canadian architecture chronologically and thematically to life.

320 pages | 200 halftones | 6 3/4 x 8 2/3 | © 2016

Modern Architectures in History

Architecture: Architecture--Criticism

Art: Photography

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"This one has long been anticipated by Canadian academics and enthusiasts as it both updates and fills-out foundational texts. . . . The authors have established Canada’s modernist architectural narrative as a major player on the international stage of the movement, and they have certainly sketched a referential canon for further commentators—students, academics, and practitioners—to explore fruitfully and with profit."

Martin Segger | Orsmby Review

"Can any country really have a national architectural vernacular? Recognizing the complexity of this issue, the authors of this book limit themselves to examining the 'forms and consequences of modern architecture.' Each chapter is 'framed chronologically around a theoretically informed approach to historical analysis,' with recurring themes from 'dwelling' to the ambiguous 'recreating.' These are useful pointers to help us navigate what is a dense academic text, although there is entertainment as well as enlightenment along the way."

C20 Magazine

"Canada tends to present itself as a homogeneous territory marked by sublime landscapes, but in truth it is highly diverse culturally, and from a socioeconomic angle what most characterizes the country is the size, density, and essentially modern nature of its cities. Showing this modernity in the light of architecture is the purpose of a conscientious and dense book that tells the history of architecture in Canada from 1886 to the present, a course coinciding with the history of the nation itself. The result is an account where architects and their works are explained from a cultural angle, with room for political transformations, economic development, and changes in consumer habits."

Arquitectura Viva

“This excellent narration of modernism’s impact on the development of Canada, and Canadian architecture, from 1886 to the present describes the evolution of an architecture that, at its best, has become intensely urban without forgetting its connection to the natural world.”

John Patkau, principal, Patkau Architects

“Windsor, Liscombe, and Sabatino view Canadian, modern architectural history in terms of its underlying social, political and economic forces. Through their focus on public buildings, and by extension public life, this book reflects Canada’s social democratic traditions. This communitarian ethic distinguishes us from our US neighbors to the south. It stems from the mixing of our founding Aboriginal, French, and British cultures, and their respect for our vast and often intimidating natural landscape and climate.”

Brian MacKay-Lyons, partner, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

Table of Contents

one      Modernity in Canada, 1886–1914
two      Modernizing the Dominion, 1914–45
three    Modernism and Reconstruction, 1945–67
four      Modernism with a Punch, 1945–67
five      Questioning Modernism, 1967–86
six       Regenerative Modernism, 1986 to the Present
seven  Canada’s Modernist Legacy

Photo Acknowledgements

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