The fate of Montreal’s Trend House is currently uncertain. A demolition permit has been issued, but support for preservation is growing rapidly. Dave Leblanc has a very interesting article in the Globe and Mail concerning the on-going local debate, and the ramifications for our larger shared built culture. To quote:
I’ve said it time and again: We don’t celebrate our own. If this was the United States, more people would know about Canada’s “Trend House” program; there’d probably be a book about it, too, just like the ones on California’s “Case Study House” program. But that would mean we regard architecture as something that transcends generations, or a teaching tool, or as our collective dreams made real from bricks and mortar.
But we don’t, and that’s why we’re on the verge of losing the Montreal Trend House in suburban Beaconsfield, Que.
For more information on the Montreal Trend House, or to support the cause, please visit the Montreal Trend House website established by Michael Goodfellow. Beaconsfield City Council is set to vote on the issue on February 21st, 2011. The Trend House program was Canada’s answer to the Case Study House program, and Mr. Goodfellow writes:
… the national program spanned from 1952 and 1955, and was sponsored by the BC Softwood Lumber Association. All homes were open for public viewing following construction to demonstrate the innovative ways they planned for modern life, used wood products and furnished with modern amenities and appliances. The interior of the homes were furnished by Eatons, employing primarily furniture and textiles from Canadian designs, selected by the National Industrial Design Council of Canada. Of the 11 homes built across Canada, this is the only example in Quebec.
On the Trend House Chronicles site, Michael Kurtz writes:
As in the Case Study program, the design parameters for each of the houses was left up to the architects, who were selected from local firms, and were proponents of modern design. Designers were told to create houses that were slightly ahead of the current building technology, giving people a view of what residential homes might look like 5 or 6 years in the future.
The Trend Houses exposed Canadians to new ideas in architecture, construction and interior design, and influenced the design of middle class houses in Canada for years to come.