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Trent Architecture Featured in Friday, May 20's Globe and Mail

In Friday, May 20's Real Estate section of The Globe and Mail, host of CFRB's The Architourist, Dave LeBlanc writes about his impressions of Ron Thom modernism and specifically Champlain College at Trent.

Mr. LeBlanc was in residence at Champlain earlier this month as a delegate at Canada's first national conference on the conservation of twentieth century buildings and landscapes – "Conserving the Modern in Canada" conference. The conference focused on buildings, structures, districts, and landscapes constructed after 1945 and was organized by Docomomo Canada-Ontario and the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation along with other allied organizations.

In his article "Trent: a 'Fallingwater' for every student," Mr. LeBlanc intricately describes his residence room, right down to the "ingenious wardrobe/dresser/medicine cabinet unit" and "well-worn leather loop-pulls on every drawer and cabinet".

Writes Mr. LeBlanc, "…I can tell you that this Trent University dorm room does indeed rock. It's not big at 10 by 10 feet, but it's comfortable and, more importantly, the work of one of Canada's pre-eminent modern architects…"

The article, on page G15, is accompanied by photos of the exterior of Champlain College, the Great Hall, the Otonabee River, the Senior Common Room and a residence room. Mr. LeBlanc quotes in his article a letter written by Mr. Thom explaining his decision to "place the buildings in a dense urban agglomeration" so as not to dilute the academic concentration of campus or destroy the countryside.

"In my three short days living here, I've found Mr. Thom's vision still works, at least at Champlain College. The unity of its design must make students feel as if they reside in all of it, not just a 'study bedroom,'" writes Mr. LeBlanc.

To learn more about Mr. Thom and his architectural legacy on the Symons Campus, visit the on-line exhibit, Ron Thom at Trent University. Precambrian Sublime: Bauhaus in the New World, posted at http://www.trentu.ca/library/archives/zthome.htm. This exhibit, in the Virtual Lives section of Trent University Archives' Web site, discusses in detail Mr. Thom's role as Master Planning Architect, and the origins of Champlain College, the Chemistry Building, Thomas J. Bata Library and Lady Eaton College. It also highlights many of the photographs and excerpts from documentation held as part of the Archives' collection. Though Mr. Thom's personal archive is housed at the University of Calgary, the Trent University Archives is home to the papers that pertain to his work on the Symons Campus.

Dr. Bernadine Dodge and Jodi Aoki, of the Trent University Archives also opened their doors to conference delegates as the Archives' reading room was converted into an exhibit featuring a looping PowerPoint presentation, photographs, posters, architectural drawings and correspondence from the collection. Ms. Dodge and Ms. Aoki are also the authors of the newly-published Bauhaus in the New World: Ron Thom at Trent University, a 32-page booklet highlighting Mr. Thom's architectural legacy on the Symons Campus. It includes photographs chosen from among the hundreds that makeup the approximately six-cubic-foot collection housed at Trent. For more information or to order Bauhaus in the New World: Ron Thom at Trent University, visit http://www.trentu.ca/library/archives/weborders.htm.

Posted May 20, 2005


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