The company John Rule and Gordon Wynn originally founded in 1938 laid the foundation for one of the longest continuously operating architectural firms in Alberta.

(John Ulric) Rule & (Gordon Kenneth) Wynn (1938-1940)

Rule, Wynn, & (Peter Leitch) Rule (1940-1964)

Superseded by:

Rule, Wynn, Forbes, Lord, & Partners

Wynn Forbes Lord Feldberg Schmidt

Wynn Hames Forbes Lord Feldberg Schmidt

Wynn, Forbes, Lord, Feldberg Schmidt, Croll

Schmidt, Feldberg, Croll, Henderson

Henderson Inglis

Henderson, Inglis, Partridge (HIP Architects)


The Depression years were at their apex and job opportunities were scare when John Rule and a fellow graduate from the University of Alberta School of Architecture, Gordon Wynn, decided to take their chances on starting their own firm in 1938 to try and scare up a living in their actual field. John Rule had been teaching at a technical school, and Wynn had been working as a carpenter. Their outlook, according to John Rule, was “we’ve got nothing to lose. We won’t make much money but we’ll have lots of fun.” Their first contract, the Foster McGarvey Funeral Home, stood on 103 Street south of Jasper Avenue until it was demolished in 2006. Within two years John’s younger brother, also a University of Alberta graduate, joined the firm and became principal architect in their Calgary branch which opened in 1945. Rule, Wynn, & Rule went on to become a made in Alberta success story. “The firm of Rule Wynn & Rule was unusual for several reasons,” states Geoffrey Simmins from the Canadian Architectural Archives. “It was Alberta based, when most of the leading Canadian firms operated either from Ontario or Quebec. Even more unusual, it was headed by principals who had … (obtained) degrees of Bachelor of Science in Architecture [from the University of Alberta].”

Originally from England, the Rule family arrived in Edmonton in 1910 with six-year-old John, three years before Peter Jr. was born. Peter Rule Sr. was a contractor and building inspector for Alberta Government Telephones. Wynn was born in Edmonton. The three young men all studied in the newly formed Department of Architecture under Cecil Burgess, graduating in the 1930s. Significantly, not wanting their firm to suffer while they were serving the country during the Second World War, the architects retained Peter Rule Sr. to manage the firm until they returned. The Alberta Association of Architecture granted an Honorary Certificate of Practise to Peter Sr., allowing him to work as an architect despite having no formal training. Many of the firm’s drawings during the wartime period were done by two architecture students, Mary Imrie and Doris Newland, including the Metropolitan United Church on 109 Street in Strathcona.

Every sector of Alberta society benefitted from the nearly one thousand projects of Rule Wynn & Rule, which ranged from banks, to hospitals, to gas stations, schools, churches, and theatres. Simmins notes that “this was an architectural firm that defined its stylistic scope in terms of the desires of its clients, rather than dictating to them a vision that they may have resisted.” They designed the Tudor inspired Glenora School; and the Rutherford Library, the last classical building erected on campus, Rule Wynn & Rule, however, are best known for the critical role they played in establishing modern architecture in Alberta.

The six-storey Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) Building on 107 Street near the Alberta Legislature was the province’s first ‘curtain wall’ building; it employed a light-weight non-structural glass frame around the building which reduced construction costs and allowed natural light to permeate deep into the structure. When it was opened in 1953 with these innovative features and the first underground parking facility in an Edmonton building, it was the city’s most daring building of the 1950s, marking the beginning of the Modernist design movement in Edmonton’s architecture.

Rule Wynn & Rule won recognition for their designs of the Commonwealth Aquatic Centre (1978), Edmonton Centre (1978), Maclean Block renovation (1979), the Alberta Agriculture Building (1983), Weinlos Elementary School (1985), and the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Rehearsal Room (1986-1987).

Peter Rule became a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1963, but died a year later in British Columbia. John Rule retired in 1967, passing away in Edmonton in 1978. Gordon Wynn sat as President of the Alberta Association of Architects in 1948-49 and was a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He was Chairman of the Board of the University of Alberta Hospital, President of the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club, and President of the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Motor Association. He died in Edmonton in 1994. The firm that they established out of desperation in the 1930s has be superseded by numerous other derivations, all successful in their own right.






Character Defining Elements

Architrave, Columns, Pediment, Pilaster, Plinth, Portico, Rectangular footprint, Scagliola, Stone structure, Three storeys or more