Ron Thom works: Copp House

Built in 1951, Copp House is one of Ron Thom's earliest, designed for Dr. Harold Copp. The house won Thom a Massey Medal - an award now known as Governor General's - in 1952.

From Arcade magazine:

Working with shoestring budgets, these emerging architects were eager to be thrifty and innovative and to take advantage of the challenges offered by difficult sites.

The Copp House is a good example. Fifty years of growth has blurred the line between house and site, but perhaps that is how architect Ron Thom would have liked it. The low horizontal rooflines [shelter] two linear forms that are perpendicular to each other and anchored at their intersection by a buff brick chimney. The lower element, containing the living areas, hugs the sloping terrain and is spread out across the width of the site with broad views. The upper section houses the bedrooms. The massive chimney represents the heart of the design while slender wood posts and sheets of glass infill take full advantage of the northern view over English Bay. Since Dr. Copp’s death, Winnifred Copp has continued to live in this remarkable house that contains some of the original furniture design by Thom, who would become one of Canada’s most respected architects.

And the house is one of the icons of what became known as West Coast Modern. Copp house is on Belmont Ave and I've located on the map to the right (or click here).

Two more images and plans:

Entry. All photos in this post are by James Flanders.

The living room.
Lower level. 1=entry 2=living/dining 3=carport 4=patio 6=workshop

Upper level. 5=bedrooms 7=living room below

So far my best source for Copp house is Douglas Shadbolt's Ron Thom: The Shaping of an Architect. It is great for many things Ron Thom, but I cannot help but want a more image-oriented monograph style publication to complement Shadbolt's biography which has comparatively few B&W photographs.

Copp House is soon to become more famous thanks to Greg Bellerby who is researching it along with Binning House, Barry Downs House, and Smith House II, with the purpose of writing and publishing a book about modern residential architecture in Vancouver. Bellerby - a co-author of West Coast Residential and Living Spaces: The Architecture of Fred Thornton Hollingsworth among others - has the support from Canada Council of the Arts in form of a grant for this research work. Wouldn't it be great to have some gorgeous photos of Copp in that book ? Nudge-Nudge

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Lovely to discover your post! I own a Ron Thom home in King City, Ontario. I have tried to capture the experience of living in a architecturally designed home that is in context with nature and soul. I share it here for your interest.
Marilyn Harding