Dec 14, 2010

In the Spirit of Modern Calgary

With Christmas quickly approaching and my Christmas shopping nearly almost started, I thought it would be festive to share a few gems from Calgary's modern spiritual built heritage. Calgary, to my pleasant surprise, has an impressive stock of top tier modern sites throughout the city. And the churches are no exception.

To give a bit of background, Calgary blossomed into a major city after the Second World War. With the Leduc Oil Boom of 1947, Calgary positioned itself early on as the administrative and management centre of the oil industry in Canada. Oil companies from across Canada and the US set up their headquarters in shiny new modern towers in an area that became to be known as the 'Oil Patch' on the northwest side of downtown. The city was alive with optimism, a massive population explosion and a bustling economy. This is reflected in a number of churches that were built during this period. Many churches were playful, experimental and possessed a high quality of modern design similar to what is found in Palm Springs.

Here a little sampling*:

This one looks like a UFO
St. Cecilia's Catholic Church (321 90 Ave SE)

Interesting exposed whalebone butresses
St Anthony's Catholic Church (5340 4 St NW)

Sadly this one is demolished
Westminster United Church

Maori Inspired
St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (924 Heritage Dr SW)

Anglican Church of Canada (629 49 Ave SW)

Modern Tipi?
Our Lady Queen of Poland Roman Catholic Church

One of my favourites
Centre Spiritual Enrichment (1702 17 Ave SW) 1959-62 (W.G. Milne Architect)

Shaarey Tzedec Synagogue (103 17 Ave SW) Built 1959 (Abugov & Sunderland Architect)

A little Asian Tiki inspired
Parkdale Grace Fellowship (2608 1 Ave NW)

All images courtesy of Canadian Architectural Archives at the University of Calgary: Calgary Civic Trust, Calgary Modern

Need more churches? Here's a link to more unusual churches. Some modern jems...

Happy Holidays!


*I haven't driven by many of these - so here's hoping that Google Maps reflects their current state.


VoyageVixen said...

great examples of Calgary gems! There is an amazing yellow Cawston designed mid-century bungalow on Hope St in the mount royal area. I saw the interior when it was an estate sale. I was amazing and all original. Cawston also designed the awesome Barron Building:

mrfreemont said...

I live in a well preserved 1958 Ranch here in Calgary for which I am lucky as most of the city's midcentury gems are demolished and replaced by stone covered McMansions. More money than taste in this town but a there are pockets of great mid century architechture in this city including some butterfly roofed glass homes with outdoor pools north of my home. Also some midcentury style furniture are popping up thoughout the city...

Laura said...

VoyageVixen: Cawston designed house? Intact? No kidding. I'd love to know which one on Hope Street. I'm a big fan of the Baron Building.

Mrfreemont: I've heard rumours of these butterfly roofed glass homes. What neighbourhood are you in?

Palm Springs runs hundreds of tours to see buildings and houses of the same quality as in Calgary. I think there's some opportunities here, non?

VoyageVixen said...

The house is yellow, in the cul de sac at the ridge looking south. It has metal awnings over the windows. It was mint interior with vintage appliances when I saw it. I'll try and get you the exact address :)

Marshall Stevenson said...

I'm going to say that yellow house is 2414 Hope St SW, Calgary, AB based on doing a Google Maps search, street view and some work from the City of Calgary assessment.

Street View:
City Assessment:

Looks pretty sweet and priced in at just under $1.4M.

Vas said...

I live in the old part of the Shaarey Tzedec synagogue, directly behind (and attached to) 103 - 17 Avenue SE. I believe the newer part of the synagogue, which was built in 1959, is now called the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living. It's a fabulous building and I never tire of looking at its streamlined front entrance and stained glass windows. According to a neighbour (who is a real estate agent), the building and land were sold to a developer in early 2009. Thanks to the economic crash later that year, the rumoured development plans were put on hold. It would be a shame to see this building demolished.

Post a Comment