Canadian Architecture in the Late 20th Century
“A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit.”
― Ezra Pound
International Style and Modernism
After the Second World War, the desire for unique Canadian styles faded as the International Style came to dominate the Canadian scene. Many of the most important Canadian projects of this period were designed by foreigners. Modernists such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and I.M. Pei designed major works in Canada. But surprisingly however, most Canadian architects worked abroad . First and most prominent modernist structures was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Toronto-Dominion Center. The T-D Center was one of the most prominent of the early glass and steel paneled office towers, which would be copied by other architects around the world . International Style skyscrapers came to dominate many of Canada's major cities, especially Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Toronto.
Modern Style Architecture
World War II's aftermath was a major factor in driving innovation in building technology, and in turn, architectural possibilities. The wartime industrial demands resulting in a supply shortage (of such things as steel and other metals), in turn leading to the acceptance of new materials. Early modern architecture began with efforts to accommodate the principles underlying architectural design with rapid technological advancement and the modernization of Canadian Society. Modernism contained Modernist features including radial corners, glass blocks, and belt courses. Many of the most important. Modernist buildings were in the form of high rises but large low rise buildings were also built in the style, notably, factory buildings, and shopping centers.
How it changed Canada ?
Architecture reflects the society that builds it, but it also affects the way that society develops. There is a need for people with the imagination to create buildings and cities our society needs to keep pace with its evolution. Modernism and the optimistic belief that architecture could change the future of society through a synthesis of science and technology. It reflected a new ideal for humanity - one that linked man to a new rational culture in tune with mechanization and efficiency. But most importantly, these designs were given form by a new optimistic ideal - that rational design would make for a rational society. Canada has been modernized through out the late 20th century. This evolution sparked the modern age of Canadian society. These new styles (international and modernism) have transformed the Canadian landscape, adding the modern touch but still persevering the older architectural styles. This let the world know of Canada's modernism and its new social era. This revolution put in the use of new materials , which contributed to this revolution. Ludwing Meis van der Rohe an architectural master understood the power and purpose of architecture. He understood that buildings must be functional, comfortably inhabitable and responsive to the future. He also understood the importance and lasting power of appearance, of skylines and streetscapes. He combined big dimensions with new, modern materials and pushed Canadian Architecture architecture into the future. This revolution introduced many architects and architectural styles which pushed Canada towards modernism and beyond.
Explosion of Modern Architecture, Toronto - Ontario, Canada