While 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.”
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