Who Am I?
By E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC ‘03)
- I was born in 1906 in Montreal. My father was the President of the Northern Electric Company.
- I attended the Selwyn House School in Montreal and Bishop’s College in Lennoxville. I studied at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario but left after his second year because I decided to become an architect. I was greatly influenced to study architecture by discovering wonderful folios of the works of Christopher Wren in the RMC library.
- I was able to transfer from second-year at RMC into second-year at the School of Architecture of McGill University. After two years of study at McGill (1925-27), I transferred to the Massachusets Institute of Technology M.I.T. in Cambridge where I graduated in 1929. After graduation, he went to London, England, to do post-graduate studies in architecture and town planning. I was employed as an architect at Le Corbusier’s architectural office in Paris, and the Howe and Lescaze firm in New York.
- Upon my return to Montreal in 1931, I participated in the establishment the Atelier school, whose aim was to bring together artists interested in modern painting, while stressing the importance of classical principles in art, and the art of the European moderns. I co-founded the Atelier school in Montreal, which held art classes, lectures and exhibitions. I wrote, ‘The essential qualities of a work of art lie in the relationships of form to form, and of colour to colour. From these the eye, and especially the trained eye derives its pleasure and all artistic emotion must find its expression through these means.
- I was involved in the arts and theatre communities in Montreal.
- I regularly attended the gatherings held at painter John Lyman’s home, developing friendships with artists such as André Biéler, Jean Palardy, and Jori Smith.
- I participated in the Fourth International Congress of Modern Architecture in Athens.
- I was interested in creating a link between the artist and the public, for example through the promotion of mural painting.
- I was interested in the international situation during the thirties.
When the Spanish Civil War broke out I joined the Canadian Blood Transfusion Unit attached to the “Loyalists” and worked with Dr. Norman Bethune, often driving a Red Cross Ambulance (1936-9). I became the chief fundraiser for the Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy.
Returning to Canada just before the beginning of World War II, I joined the Staff of the National Film Board of Canada serving first in Ottawa and later in Washington, D.C.
- After the war I was invited to give lectures in architectural history at McGill University. In the early 1950s, I returned to McGill’s School of Architecture to teach the History of Modern Architecture and Architectural Report. Since I was engaged in the practice of the profession of architecture my practical experience complemented theoretical studies. In Montreal, I was an active member of the city’s Parks and Playgrounds Association, contributing to the restoration and preservation of urban open spaces; for example, I co-designed the Beaver Lake Pavillion (1955-58), Mount Royal Park, Montréal, Québec in 1955. A preliminary sketch of the Beaver Lake Pavilion was featured in the first issue of The Canadian Architect in December 1955, and the completed building was covered in 1958.
- I cofounded the architectural co-operative known as ARCOP, the successor firm to Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold, Sise in 1955. I co-designed the Post Office building in the Town of Mont Royal for which I received the Massey Medal. The ARCOP contributed to several projects including the Grande Salle (now Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) Place des Arts, Montréal (1958-63); the Fathers of Confederation Centre, Charlottetown (completed 1964); the Man the Producer and Man the Explorer theme buildings at EXPO 67, Montréal (1967); and the National Arts Centre, Ottawa (completed 1969).
- I was an outspoken advocate of social justice and a faithful follower of the modern movement.
- I was concerned with the furtherance of modern art and architecture, not only in Montreal but across Canada. In 1968, I retired from the architectural co-operative.
- From 1970-74, I consulted with the National Capital Commission on saving of traditional architecture.
- I died in 1974.
a) 1713 Victor E.C. Odlum (RMC 1923)
b) 1714 Brian M Archibald (RMC 1923)
c) 1720 Godfrey M. Berry (RMC 1923)
d) 1733 George Gaisford (RMC 1923)
e) 1757 Hazen E. Sise (RMC 1923)
Answer: e) 1757 Hazen Edward Sise (RMC 1923)
Mark Zuehlke.The Gallant Cause – Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939. Vancouver: Whitecap Books Ltd. 1996.