Midweek Modness: Hamilton City Hall

Hamilton City Hall

Of all the modern forms of mid-century architecture, the International Style is my favourite. This look was pretty much dictated by three principles: expressing volume rather than mass, emphasizing balance rather than preconceived symmetry, and the doing away with applied ornament.What made it “international” was that it looked the same regardless of climate or geographic location. I think that’s why I like it so much — it seems cosmopolitan and urbane — not at all tied to old folk customs.

The style started in the 1930s, was originally championed by architects such as Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe but really took of in North America after the end of World War II. The style fell out of fashion in the 1970s, its critics hating it for all the same reasons its fans love it.

Hamilton City Hall, designed by Canadian architect Stanley Roscoe, was built in 1960. Even though its original marble cladding was removed (and I met a couple who salvaged Hamilton City Hall Marble for their kitchen), it’s still a handsome building.