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Streamlining Science

NRC Montreal Road Campus

Julien Lacroix, Author

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Government Influence on Style

The National Research Council is a federal agency and therefore it was mainly the government who imposed the style of the new research facility. The Department of Public Works seems to have had a great say in the message the Montreal Road Campus was to send. The main architect discussed thus far, H. Gordon Hughes, may be named simply for being the chief architect, while the final designs of the building may not necessarily reflect his stylistic choices.[1] Public architects are simply tasked with being client representatives and must communicate government requirements to private architects.[2]

This is very possible, because according to Lloyd Francis, he was the chief architect of the Department of Health, responsible for overseeing the Hospital Construction Grants and ‘‘had a substantial influence on the design and construction of hospitals across Canada’’.[3] Another reason for this assumption is because of a building designed by Hughes at almost the same time in a very different style. The building in question is located at 291 Park Street in Ottawa and is now the official residence of the Irish Ambassador to Canada. This local take on a French Chateau was completed in 1938.[4]

[1] Norman R. Ball, Building Canada: A History of Public Works, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1988), 276.
[2]  Ball, Building Canada, 277.
[3] Lloyd Francis. Ottawa Boy: An Autobiography, (Burnstown: General Store, 2000), 42.
[4] ''Doors Open Ottawa 2012''. City of Ottawa, Accessed November 18th, 2014. 
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