Fred Thornton Hollingsworth

by Eve Lazarus on October 24, 2010

2005While Arthur Erickson, Ned Pratt and Ron Thom have imprinted their West Coast style of architecture all over Vancouver, Fred Thornton Hollingsworth is the architect most responsible for the look of post war North Vancouver. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Hollingsworth met the legend in 1951 and turned down a job offer to work with him, opting instead to develop his own style.

2800 Colwood Drive, North Vancouver

Dominica Babicki grew up in a Hollingsworth house and when the opportunity to buy another came up, she and partner Alastair Moore, a green building consultant, got out their cheque book.

Hollingsworth called their Colwood Drive house Neoteric—an economical house with a simple post and beam construction and a flat roof with a clerestory to bring in light to the interior spaces. Hollingsworth set this house at the rise of a slope and terraced the front yard with a series of rock retaining walls. He contracted E.A. Peck to build the house in 1950 for Leslie McNicol a salesman at the Mann Litho Company at a cost of $10,000.

Babicki and Moore have since transformed their home into a smart eco-residence in keeping with the spirit and character of the original house.

Modern Heritage Renovation

The owners found much of the design’s clarity and materials buried under layers of drywall, laminate flooring and paint. Gradually, they stripped away the materials to expose the original design. At the same time they improved upon the overall health, energy efficiency and environmental performance of the house with green materials, solar hot water heating, FSC-certified cedar siding and LED lighting.

Hollingsworth, now 93, still lives in the house he designed in 1946 on Ridgewood Drive. Twenty years later he told Canadian Architect why he wanted to stay in a small architectural practice: “Because we’re romantics and it is to me exciting to see a family raised in a fine building they have lived in since the day they were born.”

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Clark February 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm

My mother’s maiden name is Hollingsworth and her great grandmother was a Thornton. I would love to know if Mr. Fred Thornton Hollingsworth and I are kin!

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Eve Lazarus February 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

How interesting about the Thornton/Hollingsworth connection. Have you read his book Living Spaces – it’s been a while so I don’t remember if it had autobiographical information that would help you but it may, and it’s in the library. Do you live in Vancouver?

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