INTERVIEW WITH NORBERT SCHOENAUER(1923-2001)

Montreal, August 15, 1997

Daniella Rohan (DR) interviewed Professor Emeritus Norbert Schoenauer (NS), from the McGill School of Architecture, about Ramsay Traquair. This interview was conducted for the Canadian Architecture Collection and its special project for Industry Canada entitled Ramsay Traquair: The Architectural Heritage of Quebec.

DR:
Professor Schoenauer, can you describe the influence that Ramsay Heatly Traquair, a doctor, and Phoebe Anna Moss, an artist, had on their eldest son, Ramsay?
NS:
I think that there is a general consensus that architecture is both art and science. Hence Traquair's home environment must have been nearly ideal in terms of stimulation for a future architect because his father was not only an MD, but he was a zoologist, a paleontologist and a curator of the National Museum of Edinburgh. His mother, being an artist, and a very well known artist at that, must have created a very good environment for him in which to develop. Another aspect is that when Ramsay Traquair decided to become an architect, the city of Edinburgh was probably a very exciting place. Patrick Geddes was active in the old town, restoring old buildings and introducing new life to the old town, which was getting more decrepit. In fact, the first Director of the School of Architecture, Stewart H. Capper, was also involved with the restoration of these buildings. In new construction, for example, Geddes helped finance Ramsay Garden. Edinburgh was clearly a centre for education and art, in contrast to Glasgow, which was really the centre for industrial development. So I presume that in general, the environment of Ramsay Traquair's youth must have been very stimulating.
DR:
Can you comment on Traquair's early studies concerning Byzantine, Greek, and Roman religious architecture, and how they influenced his first commissions?
NS:
I really doubt whether his Byzantine church studies influenced his architectural work later on. Academically, it was very, very important. After all, the first articles that he published were on Greece and on Constantinople, but I think the influence as such, of Byzantine architecture, was not as important as his contact with the Arts and Crafts movement in Edinburgh. I must say that when I went to Greece, a couple of graduate students waited for me in Athens and promised to show me the country. After they showed me the Acropolis and Athens, they asked me where I would like to go. I suggested that we should go to Hydra. We went down to the port and the Flying Dolphin that was going to Hydra, but the station was in Monemvasia. I remember that Monemvasia was like the Gibraltar of Greece, so I suggested to the two students, why don't we investigate? So we went there and it was a very exciting place, not yet discovered by tourists. When I came back to Montreal, I looked up more information about Monemvasia. I discovered that Ramsay Traqauir was already there 50 years prior to me! Obviously he did not take the Flying Dolphin and the easy way. Not only did he visit Monemvasia, but also he measured up all the churches there. This is the type of person that we dealt with - he was really an academic.
DR:
Please elaborate on how the study of archaeology shaped Traquair's view and understanding of architecture, and eventually his interest in historic preservation?
NS:
Well another important person during his youth was a man called Anderson. Robert Rowen Anderson was his name. He not only established the School of Applied Art in Edinburgh, but he also institutionalized the National Arts Survey. That meant he gave scholarships to different students to measure up all the pre-18th century historic buildings of Scotland. Traquair was one of the recipients of the scholarship while he was working for Capper. After Capper left Edinburgh (to assume the Directorship of McGill School of Architecture.), Traquair spent a year measuring up old buildings. I think that turned him on and it provided a good background and experience, which influenced very much his later involvement in Canada. Now I presume in Edinburgh at that time, you also had a certain amount of regionalism emphasized. A man by the name of Gerald Brown suggested that since art is a manifestation of society, every particular society develops or evolves a certain art expression. Scotland was very much involved in discovering and investigating its own tradition, and Ramsay Traquair was part of that movement.
DR:
Fiona Sinclair's Scotstyle: 150 Years of Scottish Architecture, gives a good survey of Scottish architecture at that time. One of the few buildings Ramsay Traquair designed, the First Church of Christ Scientist, in Inverleith Terrace, Edinburgh is reviewed. To what extent can we say Percy Nobbs influenced Traquair as an architect and administrator in Canada?
NS:

Although Percy Nobbs came to Canada before Ramsay Traquair, and was the second Director of the School of Architecture (Traquair the third), he was in fact one year younger than Traquair. That means that they were contemporaries. We do know that Ramsay Traquair finished his exams for an associated membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1899, Percy Nobbs one year later in 1900, and a third friend of theirs, Cecil Burgess, also finished in 1900. The three of them went to northern Italy on a sketching trip and spent a couple of months there visiting Venice, Verona, Florence, Milan, and Ravenna. After they came back, Nobbs stayed in London and worked for the London County Council (LCC). Ramsay Traquair went back to Edinburgh and worked for different architects: first George Washington Brown and then for Robert Lorimer, where Nobbs worked before. They both attended the School of Applied Art the same year, established by Anderson. That means that they must have known each other. So I think one influenced the other - they had similar exposures at the same time - and maybe a better word would be that they complimented each other rather than influenced each other. Presumably, Phoebe Traquair had an influence on Percy Nobbs, unless it is a pure coincidence that Nobbs also called his daughter Phoebe. Phoebe Traquair was a very important artist of that period in Edinburgh and she lived there a long time. She lived to be 84 years old. I can't really tell you who influenced whom, but I am certain that Percy Nobbs and Ramsay Traquair grew up together and they were exposed to similar influences. It was probably mutual. Now their temperament was different. I don't know whether you want to discuss that aspect. I never met Ramsay Traquair. I met Percy Nobbs once.

Percy Nobbs struck me as a very serious and talented designer. He was a very practical man. He knew several crafts. He was able to tell a bricklayer how to lay bricks, he was a good draughtsman, and he was also an athlete, an outdoorsman. He won a silver Olympic medal in fencing. Nobbs was a fisherman - he designed his own lures for fly-fishing. He liked soldiering, without being forced into it. He volunteered in WWI to go overseas and serve his country. On the other hand, Traquair was more of an academic type, rather than the very much-involved man in doing crafts. He was also an excellent researcher, perhaps I would say more of a dreamer. In contrast to Nobbs, who could be a bit dour, Ramsay Traquair must have been more of the opposite. I mean, he was shielding his emotions but he was a warm-hearted person. So I think the two of them complimented each other, especially with respect to running the School. Nobbs was much more interested in his architectural practice and was very impatient as an administrator. On the other hand, Ramsay Traquair felt very comfortable with his position as Director of the School and didn't resent administration. Nobbs resigned the Directorship of the School of Architecture because the principal complained that he spent too much time practicing and not giving enough to the school. So when they appointed the new Director, they made it clear to the person "to devote full time to teaching" which Ramsay Traquair did, but not Nobbs.

DR:
Professor Schoenauer, can you describe the atmosphere at the School of Architecture at McGill during Ramsay Traquair's tenure, given that most of the staff was British, namely Scottish, and the School was relatively small?
NS:

Firstly, it must be remembered that the school was very small. Apart from the war years, WWI and WWII, you had very few students graduating each year, no more than two or three. In general, the range of graduates between the two World Wars was between 4 and 10 students. That doesn't mean, of course, that lectures were given to ten students only. Lectures were given every second year. Also, we should remember that many, many people that were apprenticing with architects would opt to listen in on lectures at McGill in order to facilitate studying for their admission exams.

Another aspect that is mostly forgotten today is that McGill University was a place where people passed their exams for admission to the RIBA, from the Caribbean Islands, South America, the United States. People would come to McGill to pass their exams because it was cheaper to come to McGill than to go to Great Britain, especially before the jet age. I remember supervising candidates for the RIBA exams in the early 1960s. The School may have been smaller, but it was an active place because you had the influence of other students or apprentices. From the Arts Faculty, people took Freehand Drawing and so forth. The student body, being relatively smaller, was a very friendly place and obviously everybody knew each other and liked each other. This was certainly true up to the 1930s.

From the 1930s on, the modern movement became more and more popular. The older members of the School started to be discredited, and you have to remember that they were all about the same age. They all grew old at the same time and there was very little influx of new people. I would say that the School of Architecture senior members, [namely] Nobbs, Traquair and Turner, were all about the same age. Then you had another generation of architects, but they were about 10 of 15 years younger. All of them were educated in Great Britain. W.E. Careless for example, also contributed in measuring French Canadian architecture and he was known as an expert. There was another man named Frank B. Chambers, a historian and politician. I think his architectural studies originated in London. I recently picked up his book called The History of Taste and found it interesting that here is a person who wrote a book on the theory and history of taste in architecture, from antiquity all the way up to the 1920s. The book was published in 1932 by Columbia University Press. The reason I found it so fascinating was that I admired their [the architects of the time] educational background. They taught in Latin, in old Greek, they were fully familiar with all the literature of antiquity, the Renaissance and medieval periods - their educational background was truly impressive. When I was reading the story and the background of the evolution of taste, I didn't find a single statement that I would have disagreed with. Today there is a great emphasis placed on theory. Chambers quoted Hegel and Nietzche all the time. This person [Chambers] taught at the School of Architecture in the 1920s and he was there up to when John Bland took over, and then he left.

DR:
What are some of the differences between Nobbs and Traquair, and the way they helped develop the School?
NS:
I think it goes back again to their personalities, their characters. Nobbs was a doer, a practical person. He was very much professional and when he arrived at McGill the first thing he did was to split the School into two halves. One was the B.Arch. stream and the other was B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering. That meant that the admissions were much easier for architects coming to the B.Arch. stream because they did not have to have a science background. Many subjects in science were eliminated in the B.Arch. program and replaced by art subjects given by the Faculty of Arts. The courses were a 4-year program. The first year was introductory, really grade thirteen. So architecturally speaking, there were only three-year courses. Very shortly after Ramsay Traquair's arrival, he extended the course to a five year program. The first year still being introductory, but he added a full year to it. He introduced a program that had seven parts to it. Now I don't know whether these seven different parts related to the seven Lamps of Architecture from [John] Ruskin, or the seven notches on the rings that are given to architecture graduates. At any rate, the main subject was Design, which was given by Percy Nobbs. Then there was the second group which included Aesthetics, the third group pertained to History, the fourth group was Hygiene and Surveying. Construction, Architectural Practice, and Drawing rounded out the seven categories. Traquair, although he did not introduce it first, solidified the Sketching School experience. Traquair, I presume, emphasized more the academic aspect of the School, whereas Nobbs adhered more to the traditional way of educating architects, mainly through apprenticeship, working in offices, because after all, that's how he had become an architect.
DR:
What fundamental changes did Traquair make to the School of Architecture's curriculum, such as the addition and elimination of certain topics, and the extension of the overall program to five years.
NS:
Later it was extended to six years during John Bland's tenure and first year was still introductory - that was six years at the School. After the quiet revolution in the 1960s, when they introduced the CEGEP programs, they took two years away from the six and that is why we are left with four years. Now the first year was really just grade 13 but then they removed another year. I find this to be a contradiction. Whereas knowledge expanded tremendously in the field of architecture, the course itself was reduced by one year, because CEGEP could never have done the same what we did at that time.
DR:
Now the present curriculum extends to four years, and may be extended further. Are four years enough or should the program be longer?
NS:
Well, the only advantage that I see with the breaking up into CEGEP and then the B.Sc., and maybe a Masters program for a professional degree, is that students can leave the School at different points and still have the documentation that they did something or that they accomplished something. You see, with the six-year program we always had this dilemma - that if somebody failed after five years, he didn't have any papers at all and it was unfair. After all, he had passed four years. So for that reason, I am supportive of this.
DR:
How much of the changes Traquair made are felt today, and what is the attitude toward them?
NS:

I think Traquair continued the same policy that Nobbs established, and Design was indeed the most important aspect of studio training, of which Nobbs was the leader. With the exception of the introductory course, all the years were taught by Nobbs. That importance continued throughout. With Design being a 6-credit course, students spent most time with it and the awards for graduates were always based primarily on design. I mean, if you are not very good in engineering you could still advance, but in design, if you have a poor grade, then it is tough. I find it wrong that this is so because there are so many students that graduated from McGill who are not very good in design but made a mark in other fields. I remember one student who failed a design project, but later on became a leader of computer-aided design, and he got a Ph.D. from MIT. So I think it is a pity that we emphasize only one aspect when we know very well that out in the market, there are some people who have to write specifications, there are some people who have to supervise jobs, and be administrators. We somehow place more importance on design. Now I don't want to discredit the importance of design because, first of all, I think the School should make clear to their students if they have no design ability, they should know that! On the other hand, one should emphasize other aspects of architecture too, because as I said it is not only art, it is also science.

I think this whole notion of talent is exaggerated because I think everybody can learn to play the piano very well if they really exercise and work hard at it. Now they may never become a Chopin or a Liszt, that's for sure, but that's where talent comes in. On the other hand, for the man on the street, they would be damn good piano player, and I would say the same thing for drawing. Drawing can be learned. Now, if they become a Leonardo De Vinci, now that's another story. Anyone can learn to draw very well. You have to have talent.

DR:
What type of practitioners and/or academics did Ramsay Traquair bring in as staff or lectures while he was Director?
NS:

The majority of them had a British background. [Edmond] Dyonnet, born in France and educated in Italy, taught here at the School. With respect to language, Traquair probably spoke French and a little bit of German as well. Capper, for example, spoke several languages, and he was very good in French when he came to Montreal. After all he studied at the Beaux-Arts, so he lived in Paris, and he even spoke Spanish and Portuguese. During the 19th century, most of these people had a very good education. Scotsmen, especially, had a French connection - I suppose they had a common enemy! I feel that sometimes our School was accused of being inbred. They didn't, in fact, appoint teachers that graduated from McGill but those with a very similar background because they didn't trust anything else.

The differences between Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and the modern movement were not as exaggerated at that time; the borderlines were not as clear-cut as they are now. Many things that are attributed only to the modern world now were actually traditions from the Arts and Crafts movement. For example, hygiene, lots of air, bright rooms, etc. These first emerged in Great Britain because during the Industrial Revolution, housing conditions and health deteriorated there first. The first negative manifestations were also in Great Britain, hence, the first reactions. The aforementioned people, such as Nobbs, [Philip] Turner, Traquair, Careless, and Chambers, all had British background. They all subscribed, by and large, to the same values. In the book that I recently read, Chambers refers to the Arts and Crafts theoretician William Richard Lethaby in the preface - he was the theoretician of the Arts and Crafts movement. Chambers also dedicated the book to Professor Pike, who ran the school for the LCC but was also Professor of Architecture in London. I suppose one could say that there were interactions. Certainly Capper knew Traquair, Traquair worked for him, Traquair and Nobbs went to the same school for a while, they traveled together with Burgess, and had similar values. Burgess also went to supervise Nobbs' job in Edmonton. There he started a new school but it didn't succeed because it was a one-man school.

McGill and the School of Architecture enjoyed a great reputation in Canada. One should remember that at that time, Montreal was the metropolis of Canada and subsequent schools were started throughout with the help of the people from McGill, especially during John Bland's tenure. For instance, UBC was established after John Bland wrote the recommendation and then supplied the man in charge. Halifax was started by Douglas Shadbolt. Traquair, as an academic, made sure that that would remain. Now when the modern movement gained popularity, some of the older teachers were reluctant to give up their old values. I think that Percy Nobbs, more than Traquair, was very critical of the modern movement. He called the modernists accommodation engineers, that they accommodated their clients' wishes and did not have any taste. This type of reaction was very common with the Arts and Crafts. [Charles F.A.] Voysey was heralded as the first modernist and when someone mentioned that he was protesting and said "but I never designed a building with a flat roof". He had already very plain facades and ribbon windows, but the last thing he wanted to be associated with was the modern movement. Similar reactions occurred here in Montreal. These movements were much closer to each other than people were willing to admit. If I may make an analogy in the political sphere: Communists and Social Democrats were much greater enemies than Social Democrats were with Capitalists because they knew who each was because of their milieu. They were already too close to each other, competing with each other. The Communists and the Social Democrats feared Communists, not Capitalist because they were not trustworthy, they are too close for comfort in their ideas. Similarly, I would suggests that if an Arts and Crafts person and a modernist were to emphasize what they had in common, it would far outweigh what differences they had.

DR:
How did McGill's School of Architecture compare to other schools at the time?
NS:
I think if one considers a school of architecture as having a course in design, then of course the School of Architecture at McGill is the oldest one. Although Toronto's School of Architecture was older, it didn't teach design. It was more of an applied art school. McGill on the other hand, from the very outset, was an architectural school in the modern and contemporary sense because it taught all the science courses, including design. Architecture was an extension of applied science, not engineering. The biggest influence we had was actually our school of graduates, and that continued to be so. If you look at the years, not only before WWI, but after the two World Wars, we had beautiful architecture produced by graduates of McGill University. Many of them still worked in Arts and Crafts idiom, which by that particular time, was no longer in vogue in Great Britain or in Europe. The Priests' (Sulpician) Farm order, designed by Shorey Ritchie, was a McGill graduate and was introduced to the Arts and Crafts here. Leslie Perry, did some beautiful architecture also in that idiom. Morely Luke, P.R. Wilson, [Harold Lea] Fetherstonaugh, and [Alexander T.G.] Durnford. They were really very well educated architects, with design you can really admire even today. Every time I look at some of their work, I really admire their sensitivity in details and the beautiful structures they designed. Westmount is full of these buildings, including Redpath Crescent.
DR:
[Traquair believed] the architect's education required a partnership between university and office. How is the university continuing this partnership between education and industry today?
NS:

This is a very hard question because the whole profession of architecture underwent incredible changes. When Traquair and Nobbs became architects at that time, everyone worked in architects' offices, doing apprenticeships, and because of the expansion of science and knowledge in general, they thought it necessary to be complimented by university education. Now I think that linkages between university and the professional side as such is not very strong as it used to be. I can see a certain parallel with the Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty of Engineering does not educate any longer electrical engineers that would be able to help an architect in wiring their buildings. Mechanical engineers do not educate engineers who would be able to design a central heating system for an apartment building. They don't exist anymore. The mechanical engineer knows how to design a jet engine, knows about quantum mechanics, and computers. In a way, they became much more scientific. They took over some aspects that before belonged to the domain of science. Architecture itself, underwent a similar problem where certain things were emphasized in architecture that had very little to do with practice. Building construction and financing of buildings is no longer emphasized in the school. When graduates go out into the profession, they have a good general background, but they have no practical experience. McGill is better than most. Before graduates are given the B.Arch degree, they must prove that they worked six months for an architect. Other universities don't even have that. In my opinion, less co-operation exists between the profession and the schools of architecture, than during Traquair's time.

I should have mentioned that Waterloo has the work-study program, and also Halifax wants or plans to have it. Obviously it is an advantage if the profession participates in education. I presume, that during John Bland's years, many architects participated in the educational process, especially design crits were done by professionals. Ray Affleck was a regular critic at the School of Architecture, Victor Prus, all the great architects were there all the time. Now I see it less so, but maybe it is my perspective because one gets older and draws parallels.

DR:
Well, not really, the industry is struggling and the direct interaction between the two has lessened. The firms themselves are struggling so they can't afford to hire students right away.
NS:
One could mention the following: when I started to teach here at the School of Architecture, it was mandatory that you were a member of the architectural association. It was inconceivable that people who teach architecture weren't members of the profession. At present, fifty percent of our teachers are not members of the profession. That is proof in itself that the linkage is not there. During the Traquair years, the School of Architecture at McGill was accredited by the British Institute, and thereby automatically accredited by France. The exams were held at McGill, but today we lost all that. So the connection that existed before no longer exists.
DR:
Is there some way we can recuperate the connection, or do you see that in the future, it getting better, or getting worse before it gets better?
NS:
Why would you give up an acquired right that you already had? Why would you give that up? I would not have given that up if I had had the choice. Some of the schools had problems with accreditation that's why they introduced a Canadian-made system. McGill never had that type of a problem. In fact, we have more of a problem now with the Canadian system than we had before.
DR:
Traquair felt very strongly about the study of old work in order to understand the fundamentals of architecture and to design new worthwhile buildings. "Beside the architecture of Europe it cannot take a prominent place, yet it is our own, it is of the soil and from it I believe our modern Canadian architecture might well be developed, certainly in domestic and church work". How is this way of thinking carried on in the School?
NS:

To some degree, regionalism was de-emphasized by the modern movement, because of the international style. In a sense it says it all, doesn't it - international? It means that buildings could be designed irrelevant of site. Climactic forces and cultural aspects influenced design. I am very much a product of Scandinavian education because I spent my formative years there. What I admired about Scandinavia was that they never had an architectural movement and swallowed it.how does the saying go? "Hook, line and sinker." They always modified it. For example, in Denmark they would say the modern movement is very nice but we shouldn't really design flat roofs because our climate is too severe. Let me tell you the climate of Denmark is not half as severe as in Canada and yet all roofs in Canada are flat. Perhaps they didn't know how to do a good flat roof with the drainage in the middle of the building. They tried to do it from the outside which, of course, does not work - it freezes. They were so accustomed to a sloped roof that it was symbolic as a shelter and this also applies, in fact, to the Arts and Crafts architects in Great Britain. You didn't see a flat roof there. If you look at a Christmas card and snowy weather is portrayed, could you imagine a Mies van der Rohe building? It doesn't represent home. Unless you have a sloped roof with snow on it, a chimney with smoke coming out, little glazed windows frosted at the edges, and a Christmas tree inside the house - that portrays some sort of home. The modern international style, though it may have been good for an office building, didn't have that homeliness for residential construction.

If I may go back to your question, I think that Traquair probably meant that the French Canadian home was not a copy of a Norman nor a Bretagne house, but evolved from the roots here. The floor level was raised four feet above the ground grade because that's how high the snow was. It had galleries around it to protect it from the summer heat but the winter sun was allowed to penetrate. So many years of experience taught people that this particular building works very well as a home. Therefore, why would you want to discard it and exchange it for something new? You can maybe modify it, add [to] it, evolve it, but don't deny your roots. I think this is what Traquair meant. People should be proud of what they accomplished on their own. You cannot really import something from Italy and be successful in this climate.

DR:
Traquair described in his article "Cottages of Old Quebec" the evolution of the Quebec-style cottage: first it was influenced by France, then by Great Britain, and finally it evolved for the local climate. He described the components: the simple rectangular structure; the steep roof, which sometimes evolved into a bell-cast, and eventually it went so far out that it needed support, therefore the introduction of a verandah. It was quite well-suited to this climate, but not in England where its damp. No one would actually be on a verandah in England. Here we have terribly bright sun as well as a lot of snow, so its interesting the way he comments on this. I also find it interesting, if I may comment on my own question, that he believed Canadian architecture to evolve from "in situ" but yet he did believe in travelling scholarships so that the better students can go and experience the European architecture firsthand, to learn from the old style in order to create a new style when they came back home. How do you feel about the travelling scholarships?
NS:
Obviously, I feel it to be very important to travel in this world especially at a time when the world is shrinking. I'll bring up another problem. In my own work, I try to be as global as possible. Inasmuch as I felt that when I got my architectural education, my education was purely European. I had absolutely no idea what they built in China, India, Africa, nor in America. When I started to write about the history of housing, I couldn't find any work that was really global in that sense. Yet, I could not understand architecture without going back to its roots. Maybe I am simplistic, but I feel that if man believed God to be in his own image, then if they built their house for God they would really start out from their own home. Therefore, I think that a Greek temple is based on a rudimentary Greek house. I could tell you the same thing about the dogons in Africa, the Japanese, the Chinese or anywhere in the world. For that reason I felt housing to be so important. In order to have that exposure you must travel. I didn't see the whole world but I benefited a lot from travel. I think more architects really should travel.
DR:
While you travel, you take photographs and document different architecture.
NS:
Whether it is Europe that is the most important, I don't know. I would say in terms of numbers, China may be more important today, or India with over a billion people. From a western point of view and western values, Europe is a very good example of what architecture brought about. That is only one interpretation of architecture. Traquair, like Capper, was very broadminded so presumably he supported scholarships in order to expose students to different values.
DR:
It's a good way to document different styles and learn from a different culture. This brings me to my final question. A little known fact is that the historic photographs in the Traquair Archive, which is housed at the Canadian Architecture Collection, originally came from the late Charles T. Hart, which Traquair purchased for the Blackader Library in 1918. Ramsay Traquair then added to that collection and now they total close to 8,000 photographs of architectural buildings, some of the historic buildings now demolished. What then would you say is Ramsay Traquair's legacy to McGill and in general?
NS:

Firstly, every morning when I enter the McGill campus, I see the flag on top of the Arts Building. That flag was designed by Traquair. Secondly, he awakened the interest in French Canadian architecture. Not only to know about French Canadian architecture but also its new application. I don't know whether you notice, but if you walk on Atwater, on the left hand side there is a beautiful French Canadian residential building designed for an anglophone. If you go to the top of the mountain, there are several beautiful French-Canadian buildings, at least in spirit. I'm not suggesting every detail was mimicked on these buildings, but it was Ramsay Traquair who convinced people (his graduates) that this is beautiful architecture. Also mansions in Senneville and on Gouin Boulevard were done in the manoir style, so to speak. That is Traquair's doing. Now it is true that Nobbs was also fond of that and he designed in Dorval or Pointe-Claire French Canadian-type houses with a gable or chimneys.

The mere fact that Traquair received an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal tells us something. It's a rare occasion that one university gives doctorates to professors in the same field from the other university. In this instance, Traquair did get one. So it was a major contribution. I don't know whether it is appropriate for me to say this but when I wrote my Master's thesis, I wrote it on French-Canadian architecture in the Richelieu Valley. When I applied to become a member of the PQAA (Province of Quebec Architects' Association), somebody on the committee asked me what I wrote my thesis about and I replied French-Canadian Architecture. Although this person was a francophone, he was not impressed at all by that fact. He thought that it was really not very important architecture. Today obviously he would not be able to state that, but I am going back to 1962 to be precise, and at that time there were still people who thought that it was not true architecture. Traquair did convince people that it was an important heritage. Thirdly, at the School Traquair institutionalized, in a sense, the Sketching School. I think these three aspects, apart from the Collection, are major contributions of his.

DR:
Thank you very much, Professor Schoenauer.
NS:
Thank you.

 

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