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Streamlining Science

NRC Montreal Road Campus

Julien Lacroix, Author

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Streamlining at the Montreal Road Campus (cont'd)

The next building on the campus that demonstrates this functionally unnecessary architectural application of streamlining is the cafeteria building. This building is the most complete example of a Streamline Modern building at the Montreal Road campus. It is also one of the smallest and one of the only that doesn’t directly have anything to do with research! Its corners are all streamlined, including around the entrances. It also displays the use of glass brick on its corners.

This building, and this complex in general, have adopted the Streamline Moderne style to display the high tech and efficiency of the day. The cafeteria specifically takes this idea of efficiency to include the growing concern for hygiene in this period. This ‘‘aesthetic of obsessive cleanliness’’[1] sought to hide all the functional and dirty parts of a building behind the ‘‘hard, clean physique of a ‘streamlined’ body’’.[2] This anthropomorphic idea put forward by Lupton and Miller focuses on the new hygienic living spaces of the modern dwelling: the bathroom and the kitchen. Similarly to this, the cafeteria is a place where the NRC workers would go to have their lunch, so it must present itself a safe and hygienic place to consume food.

[1] Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller, The Bathroom, the Kitchen, and the Aesthetic of Waste: A Process of  Elimination, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1992), 3.
[2] Lupton,The Bathroom, the Kitchen, and the Aesthetic of Waste: A Process of  Elimination, 69.
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