Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

For the Record

I have been meaning to post this little 'editorial' for some time now. I picked up this terrific book, For the Record, after an exchange of emails with an AR reader, an architect who is writing a book about a Canadian architect of the mid to late c20. Together we were trying to locate a modernist home in the Foxboro area, which had been designed in 1960 by architect Bill Grierson. The home was written up in Canadian Homes in 1961; the reader included the article, with plans and photos. Tantalizing! Sadly, the quest ended in failure, but for the opportunity to learn about Grierson's work. And his wife's. For Joan Grierson was also an architect, and a writer. In 2008 she put together this tremendous volume celebrating the lives and work of 28 women architects in Canada. For the Record is published by Dundurn Press, and features profiles of  women in the profession of architecture from the 1920s to 1960, with photos, career milestones and designs for which they will be remembered. Brilliant.

In writing this post, I wanted to celebrate two women architects I know. Shannon Kyles, daughter and grand-daughter of well-known architects (what chance did she have?) is the creator of the world famous Ontario Architecture website, and a professor of architecture at Mohawk College. Here's a neat Globe and Mail story featuring all three generations...around the subject of a particular house.

Another friend, Adele, who is very active in our local historical society and ACO branch, worked with her husband in the firm Lassing Dibben Consulting Engineers. She mentioned several buildings around the community that I will capture to add here. Adele studied at the McGill School of Architecture and is a Life Member of the Ontario Association of Architects. 

This morning, I saw an intriguing letter from Huffpost Women, with the intriguing title "Male Engineering Student Perfectly Explains why Female Classmates aren't his Equals." Now before the blood boils, click on the letter above, and have a read.

I'm pretty sure female architecture students might echo the sentiments. So, my female architect friends. I salute you.


  1. The William Grierson book was published. It was Joan Grierson who was writing it. I assisted with research and assembling the drawings. We never did get to visit the Foxboro house. Here's a review of the book:

  2. kneiselkatherine@gmail.comJanuary 22, 2023 at 7:48 PM

    Wow! that Foxboro house is the one I grew up in - my parents, Ernst and Barbara Kneisel, were friends with Joan and Bill Grierson. I have some old photos of the place I could scan - we are trying to locate the Architectural Digest article, in hopes of showing off its historical greatness, and preventing the demolition of the house's vandalized remnants. Still an amazing place, despite the rough shape it is in. The people who own it now have a large development planned and we are hoping they might preserve the house as a club house or just a memorial to great architecture. And I have some sad new photos of what it looks like now. Still has great bones, as my brother said.