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DR. ARTHUR HAIG RESIDENCE

Lethbridge

Other Names:
Dr. Haig Residence
Haig House
Haig Residence
Heritage House Bed and Breakfast

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Dr. Arthur Haig Residence is a two-storey wood frame residential building faced with a smooth white stucco finish. The residence is situated on four city lots on a prominent corner in the historic London Road neighbourhood in Lethbridge. Significant landscape elements include a retaining wall and flagstone walk.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Dr. Arthur Haig Residence lies primarily in its architectural value as a rare pre-1940 example in Alberta of a Streamline Moderne style residence.

The Dr. Arthur Haig Residence was designed and constructed in 1937 by Calgary architects Fordyce and Stevenson for Dr. Arthur Haig, a prominent Lethbridge physician. The design of the building was influenced by the modernist enthusiasm for progress through science, technology, and the machine. This emphasis dictated a style distinct from the historical or "revival" styles popular prior to the First World War. The influence of the Streamline Moderne style is embodied in the building's asymmetrical but balanced massing, its lack of ornamentation, the contrast between its white stucco and black windows and metal flashing, and the combination of cubic, angular and curved forms. The futuristic focus of the style is also evident in such interior features as the chrome light fixtures featuring geometric designs, the curvilinear walls and door openings, and the colorful Vitrolite cladding on main floor and second floor bathrooms. There was a major concentration of Moderne buildings in Lethbridge; the Dr. Arthur Haig Residence is one of the few that remains. The integrity of the building and landscaping is very high, and it remains a landmark in this older neighbourhood.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 200)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements for the Dr. Arthur Haig Residence include:

Site:
- original mature landscaping with unimpeded views of the front elevation, with a retaining wall, flagstone walk and other landscape details of the era.

Exterior:
- Streamline Moderne stylistic influences represented in the building's asymmetrical but balanced massing, combination of cubic, angular and curved forms modeled in smooth white stucco, contrast of vertical and horizontal elements, use of sharp stucco profiles to articulate form against the white exterior through cast shadows, delineation of form through contrasting elements like black windows, metal flashings, and black steel railings, interplay of solids and voids through the arrangement of window openings, and expression of interior function through strip windows of stairway;
- industrial inspiration evident in the fenestration comprised variously of strip windows and glass block units; metal balcony handrails; porthole window.

Interior:
- main floor plan converging on a central stairway with flowing, curvilinear walls and door openings;
- prominent, floor-to-ceiling living room fireplace with low-relief fluting and Art Deco styling;
- stained plywood paneling, sitting nook and fireplace in the den;
- interior features such as the decorative octagonal door knobs; streamlined main stair railing; original faucets and related bathroom fixtures; and built-in elements such the dining room china cabinets and second floor linen closet;
- interior lighting, including original chrome and other light fixtures featuring geometric designs as well as recessed niches for indirect illumination in the living room;
- interior finishes including the varnished wood floors, painted lath and plaster walls and ceilings, hand-painted living room wallpaper (1940s), and colorful Vitrolite cladding on main floor and second floor bathrooms;
- wall painting of north bedroom depicting a bomber squadron.


Location



Street Address: 1115 - 8 Avenue South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Plan 57385, Block 6, Lots 13 thru 16
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 2

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
21
8
31
8 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
5728 S
5728 S
5728 S
5728 S
6
6
6
6
16
15
14
13





Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.688307 -112.828832 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type
5505582 368091 Digital Maps NAD 83

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1986/06/25

Historical Information

Built: 1937/01/01 To 1937/01/01
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Architect: Fordyce and Stevenson
Builder:
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

The Haig Residence was constructed in 1937 for Dr. Arthur Haig. Born in North Dakota and raised in Claresholm, Haig attended medical school at the University of Alberta and McGill University. After serving briefly as a country doctor at Consort, Alberta, Haig returned to Montreal for further studies. While there, he accepted an offer to take over the practice of a Lethbridge doctor who wished to pursue his studies in Scotland. His move to Lethbridge in 1930 proved to be permanent, and the Haigs soon planned the construction of a modern fashionable dwelling.


ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

The Calgary architectural firm of Fordyce and Stevenson designed the house according to the most modern architectural principles which rejected the previous emulation of historical styles and drew upon the modern world of science, technology and the machine for inspiration. The architects produced an impressive blend of three stylistic trends known as "Art Deco", "Streamline Moderne" and "International". The last and most radical of these schools stressed an absence of ornament and surface indentation to emphasize space and volume instead of mass and solidity, the intrinsic elegance of materials and fine proportion, and inside, an open free flowing plan to replace rigidly symmetrical shapes.
Design of the Haig house began with the "International" approach: the flat roof of varied levels in asymmetrical balance, the smooth white stucco finish, the strip window, and the metal railing to enclose the second storey patio and emphasize horizontal line. But an absolute dedication to the "International" style would be have produced too stark a result, and the Haigs were influenced by "Art Deco" and "Streamline" examples they had seen on a visit to Minneapolis. The square plan, the inset windows, the tiered central pavilion over the entrance way, the rounded canopy over the entry door, the tiled bathrooms, the sleekly curved interior corners, and the plaster floor-to-ceiling fireplace all reflect "Art Deco" and "Streamline Moderne" modifications and decorative detail.

In sum, the Haig Residence represents the foremost architectural imagination of the 1930s in residential construction.


Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0470
Designation File: Des. 200
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 18683
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 200)
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