Peter Hemingway

Public sentiment toward Peter Hemingway’s designs indicates they have made their way into the very fabric of the city.

 

Born in Kent, England, and with a diploma from the Rochester Technical College, Peter George Hemingway arrived in Canada in 1954 at the age of 23. He came to Edmonton to work as an architect for the Alberta government, stayed six months in that job before he got a similar position with the federal government, and stayed two months with that job before joining a local Edmonton firm. This impetuous start characterized the career of a man known as an exacting nonconformist. He set up a private practise with Charles Leubental in 1956 and continued on alone when Leubental left the company. Several of Hemingway’s apprentices went on to be some of Alberta’s finest architects.

In 1970 Hemingway was the first Alberta architect to win a Massey Medal. In fact, he won two such awards, each recognizing outstanding examples of Canadian achievement in the field of architecture. One award was for the 1968 Stanley Building on Kingsway Avenue, and one was for Coronation Fitness and Leisure Centre (renamed after the architect in 2007), a Canadian centennial project completed in 1970. His design for the Ravine Gardens also won a national award of excellence although the project was never constructed. Probably most telling is the public sentiment toward his designs that have come to symbolize the city in some way. Hemingway’s iconic Muttart Conservatory, for example, is nationally recognized, and the public outcry when the Central Pentecostal Tabernacle was demolished in 2007 is almost unrivalled. His designs were known to resonate with the prairie landscape and he was outspoken in his advocacy for indigenous prairie architecture, lamenting over the lack of imagination downtown where high rises isolate Jasper Avenue from the river valley as if the city centre has turned its back on the rest of Edmonton. “The most powerfully original buildings in the post-war era,” he wrote, “have come from here (the Prairies).”

President of the Alberta Association of Architects in 1982 and a member of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, Hemingway passed away in 1995.

 

Details

Full Name

Peter Hemingway

Neighbourhoods

Woodcroft

Architectural Styles

Modern

Character Defining Elements

Curtain wall, Heavy timber construction, Metal structure, Rectangular footprint, Tensile cables

Gallery

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