Streamlining at the Montreal Road Campus
This building, and all the buildings of the campus for that matter, unmistakable incorporate International Style elements, but streamlining also has links to Art Deco. The main entrance doors of the Aeronautical Research Building are marked by curved black corners leading into the doors, which are made of cast aluminum with airplanes in relief. This very limited and concentrated decoration is interesting because not only does it announce the kind of research that is taking place inside the building, but this helps show streamlining’s relationship with Art Deco. The decoration is streamline appropriate, depicting a fascination with an every increasing rate of speed and ease of movement. Another interesting observation of the airplane motifs is the fact that, when reading them from top to bottom, left to right (like a book), it maps the gradual move towards the streamlining of the airplane.
The architect Hughes designed other buildings on the campus, one of them being the Gas and Oil Research Lab (Building M-9). This building shows very well the mix between the International Style and Streamline Moderne. The rear of the building is simply a modernist block with a horizontal strip window. The front has streamlined corners and glass brick, a common staple of streamlined architecture.
Streamline Moderne architecture was not restricted to a certain kind of building function. What is unique at the Montreal Road Campus is the fact that an aesthetic that came out of scientific research is being used as a representative means for research buildings. So, although a link can be made between streamlining and research facilities like this one, there is no specific reason for the architects to have used streamlining in their designs.
Kalman, Exploring Ottawa, 177.
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