20th Century Slate Designs

Thick, textured slates in 20th-century domestic architecture Until the end of the First World War the slate-roofed, architect designed homes featured in the Canadian professional press, specifically, the Canadian Architect and Builder, and Construction, exhibited the common slating of the 1890s with increasing use of smaller slates and a wide acceptance of the colour green in residential roofing. Stylistic labels were spurned by the architects of the period but a number of identifiable influences were at play including: English classical, stemming from the full-fledged Colonial Revival in the United States; Tudor Revival, originating from the half-timbering of the ‘Queen Anne’, and the highly original work of American Frank Lloyd Wright and his English contemporary Charles Voysey, that was firmly anchored in the Art and Crafts Movement’s sensitivity to man-made materials and simple building. A feeling of symmetry pervaded much of the new domestic work and translated into roofing this meant, “The playful roof of the 1880s was replaced by a standard hipped or gable one.” Responding to this change the slate industry reported an increased demand for the smaller size of slate that magnified the scale of the roof without detracting from the design. The Toronto home of Hugh S. Stevens, conceived by John Lyle, reflected the new trend to simplicity that relied for its effect on the “poise of the lines and the colour treatment of the walls and roof.” Its truncated hipped roof covered with grey-green Vermont slate crowned the facade comprised of red brick lower walls and greyish white stucco above. 0 Similar compositions of green slate roofs with various colours brick walls and half-timbered gables were evident on Montreal houses designed by Nobbs and Hyde, and Phillip Turner, respectively.

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