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H.V. Meredith House [Ardvarna]()
1110 Pine Avenue [526 Pine Avenue], Montreal, QC, Canada
Residential, Urban house [detached, basement, 2 floors, attic, 4 bedrooms, 3 servants' rooms]; brick; wall bearing
Client: Sir Henry Vincent Meredith
Description: H.V. Meredith married Isobel Brenda, the daughter of Andrew Allan who was the heir of the Allan shipping fortune started by his father Sir Hugh Allan. In 1911, Mr. Meredith succeeded Sir Edward Clouston as the General Manager of the Bank of Montreal and was honored with a baronetcy by King George V in 1916.
Between 1892-1902, Edward designed more than fifty urban and country houses for wealthy Montrealers. Designed for Mr. Meredith and his wife, the urban house, also called Ardvarna was a gift from Andrew Allan to his daughter and son-in-law. Edward treated this charming red brick urban villa using some of the current American ideas on architecture and planning which he had learned during his apprenticeship in Boston. This was the first among all the houses that Edward designed during that decade, which sits on the northern edge of the Square Mile and is sited on the steeply sloping southwest corner of Pine Avenue and Peel Street. Across the street to the east rises Ravenscrag, once the home of Isobel Meredithís uncle, Sir Hugh Allan. Nearby on Peel Street stood Iononteh, her fatherís house, while on Stanley Street, Edward built a house for her brother Hugh Andrew.
The important feature of Ardvarna was the beautiful surrounding landscape and the splendid view it provided. Edward called upon the renowned landscape architects Olmsted & Eliot, of Brookline, Massachusetts, to develop the setting for the house. The result was the extensive garden plans with shrubs; herbaceous plants and green lawn laid over the grounds. Edward intended to create a park-like setting and also carefully planned the views from within the house. The main elevation faces north to Mount Royal Park and the view from the south or garden front, encompasses a panorama that includes the city, the Saint-Lawrence River and the Green Mountains of Vermont.
The house originally built in 1894, adopted the architectural features that were popular on the American East Coast in the 1880s. Since Edward was very much influenced by the town houses designed by H.H. Richardson, Meredithís house is the same prototype. The house is faced with red brick, boldly designed with semicircular and polygonal bays asymmetrically flanking a Romanesque porch with a segmental arch supported on robust columns and decorated with Byzantine leaf ornament. The chimney stacks in Neo-Tudor style, rise flamboyantly from the east and west elevations with multiple shafts and are the most spectacular picturesque aspects of the design. Edward also implemented many features, which he had recorded in his sketchbook during his stay in Boston. For instance, the terra-cotta plaque below the chimneystack on the east side clearly recalls the plaque on Richardsonís Trinity Church Rectory in Boston. The Ďpartií is similar to that of the Oliver Ames House, which Edward so admired that he copied some of the Richardson floor plans in his scrapbook.
The plan of the house focuses on the large hall at the center with the staircase located to one side and the main rooms disposed around the core. The plan is similar to the Codman House designed by Richardson between 1869 and 1871. The Meredith House, like the Codman House, has a small vestibule that opens into a large hall. The hall features an inglenook -a small, cozy fireplace alcove. It is placed at the far right-hand side of the hall, and the grand staircase occupies the opposite end. The remaining rooms on the ground floor - the drawing room, the dining room, and the library is oriented toward the south overlooking the garden. Contrary to the Romanesque and Gothic exterior details, the interior details are classical, reflecting eclecticism typical of the time. For instance, wainscoting and balustrades of the main staircase exhibit classical mouldings, and winged cherubs for plaster beams in dining and drawing room. In 1914 the Maxwell brothers altered and added to the Meredith House. Three proposals were made, each incorporating an extension to the west side of the house. The second proposal included an open loggia pierced by three round-headed windows reminiscent of Venetian Gothic architecture. Finally the loggia was retained, but it was enclosed. Above the triple window a gabled dormer penetrates the roofline, continuing the picturesque profile of the original building. Changes also included relocating billiard room from attic to the first floor of the new wing.
After the death of Sir Vincent in 1929, Lady Meredith stayed in the house until 1941 at which point she gave it to the Royal Victoria Hospital. The house was uses by the hospital as nursesí residence for 34 years, and in 1975, McGill acquired the use of Ardvarna, now called as Lady Meredith House. On January 7, 1990, the edifice was broken into and the old mansion, one of the few left with its interior details intact, was set fire. Because of timely response form McGill and fire department, enabled to control the fire with minimum structural damage. Currently, the building is used as the centre for Medicine, Ethics, and Law.
Holdings: Urban house (detached, basement, 2 floors, attic, 4 bedrooms, 3 servants' rooms); brick; wall bearing
|I M A G E S: Drawings Photographs|
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