Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Halls of Academe

Ontario Hall 1902
flanking conical roofed engaged towers and gabled pavilions
If you occasionally drop in on my ponderings about old houses, and happened to read my recent post about the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and ventured further to click on the link to the Queen's Heritage would know that further nattering on about the heritage buildings at that worthy school is inevitable. (Incidentally, I found one name associated with the study, that of Larry Turner. I wonder/hope if it was the same Larry Turner whose books on heritage architecture I have enjoyed on many occasions.)

three-storey towers flank the main entrance
Recently, friend Brenda and I braved a bracing north wind as we wandered up University Avenue for some pretty decent Thai food at the John Deutsch University Centre. Ivy-covered stone buildings abounded (and what ivy it was too, looking like tapestries of gold, red, bronze and green). The only intrusion on the setting, imho, was the fast busy two lane street - with a performance of thoroughly modern road rage to counterbalance all that stone dignity. A cobbled small road with limited vehicle access would have helped maintain all that augustness.

So the stiff with cold shutter-fingers itched, and I managed to capture a few of the Uni's lovely old stone structures...and with the Heritage Study to assist, I can introduce you, if you wish.
impressive three bay entrance, curving stone walls,twin staircases

This rough limestone pile would be downright intimidating if it weren't for the fall colours. Of course, intimidating was the effect the first Romanesque builders were looking for when they built fortified houses to keep out the barbarian hordes in those boisterous early medieval days.

round-headed windows within engaged columns

The only improvement I could suggest to all this austere beauty? Wind back the clock and enjoy the elm trees which originally stood in front of it, along University Avenue.

1966 Elm Trees - Vintage Kingston FB album


  1. If you were an expert in Photoshop, Lindi, you couldn't have made a better sky than you captured in these photos. It was worth a bit of shivering.

  2. Gee, thanks, never noticed. Blue as a kid's colouring book version - just missing a round yellow sun with lines radiating out in all directions!

  3. I completed a BFA at Queen's U and recall my first encounter with Ontario Hall when I arrived for the admissions portfolio review - that building is partly responsible for swaying my decision to attend. Originally built as the physics building, Ontario Hall has some beautiful and generous studio spaces. The fourth floor attic lit by skylights is also fantastically funky. And those sweeping front stairs...

  4. Oh I love your story...I can see why you would want to become part of that place. I love that it transitioned over the years from physics to fine art! You're so lucky to know the interior spaces so well.