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Architecture Of The British Dominions

( Originally Published 1921 )

The development of architecture in the British dominions beyond the seas, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, has to a large extent followed the lead of the mother country in the adoption of the Classic, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. As in England, Classic is principally, though not wholly, used for secular and Gothic for ecclesiastical buildings, both of which are evidence of the progress and growth of the colonies. To enumerate only a few of those in the " Classic " style, there are the MacGill University, Montreal, Canada ; the Parliament House, Melbourne, Australia, and a large number of banks, offices, city halls, and law courts. In the " Gothic " style are Melbourne Cathedral, Toronto University (in the Romanesque style), and the Parliament House, Ottawa. The most successful of all architectural developments in the British Dominions is seen in the country houses built on comfortable lines in a style which resembles the Georgian of the eighteenth century in England, and adapted to suit varying climatic conditions and freer social customs. This bare reference to some of the buildings erected during the nineteenth century and after must only be taken as giving an idea of the character of modern colonial architecture, due to the novel requirements for which the art has been pressed into the service of mankind. A more comprehensive idea of the enormous progress of the Empire's building activity can be obtained by reference to the architectural journals, which contain illustrations of the buildings erected during this period, and also form a permanent record of the developments which have taken place and indicate that a style in architecture is being slowly evolved, adapted to modern needs, which, although it may not resist all the " revivals " and fashions which, from time to time, may arise, is yet a faithful expression of modern civilisation and a material record of modern life, both in the mother-country and in the great self-governing dominions, which not only carry on British traditions, but also display, even in their architecture, that essential characteristic of our race, the power of adaptability to new conditions in new countries, whether amid northern snows or under the southern sun.

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