Quiet dignity : aspects of building schools in the Winnipeg School Division No. 1, 1871-1928

Thumbnail Image
Bugailiskis, Giles
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Canadian historians have generally ignored architectural history in Canada because they have seen very little use in "arcane architectural terms and blurred, grey photographs." Thus architectural history has largely remained the domain of art historians and architects who are trained to focus on the differences between a simple building and architecture. For example, Nikolaus Pevsner, a widely recognized British art historian, has stated that the term architecture can only be applied to buildings that are designed "with a view to aesthetic appeal." Thus the approach of art historians has been to analyze monumental structures by specific style or changes in style over various time periods. They look into the "roots of a building form or style to attempt to define its characteristics, then examine individual buildings for their conformity or deviation -- their interpretation -- of that form." Generally, such studies examine extant buildings in central Canada that can be categorized in the most popular schools of exterior ornamentation. A second approach in Canadian architectural historiography has been the examination of older buildings for the purpose of preservation. Research and commentary have concentrated on extant, architect-designed structures. A building receives praise because it has managed to survive and the architect is lauded for his skill. However, there is little analysis of the importance of that building in the designer's career or the community's architectural development. As Martin Weaver has observed: "We use architectural history books to enable us to understand our built environment and to discern how and why it looks the way it does." Again the emphasis is on the visual...