Founded as an academy for boys in 1839, Mount Allison University has grown into one of Canada’s most highly-revered undergraduate institutions. The vision of excellence that motivated its founders had a tremendous impact on the university’s success, influencing not only the characteristics of its academic program but also the arrangement of its campus and the quality of its architecture. The Sackville, New Brunswick campus is not only richly diverse and aesthetically beautiful, beloved by many, but also emblematic of the broader development of architecture in the Atlantic region.
In A Vision in Wood and Stone, art historian and architect John Leroux collaborates with photographer Thaddeus Holownia to chronicle the story of Mount Allison’s campus, charting its development from a few wooden structures to its present diversity of building materials and architectural styles. At the heart of their lavishly illustrated study is a conversation about the nature of architectural change and its role in the formation of the campus. Whether spurred by the calamity of fire or by the visionary (or sometimes revisionary) impulses of the university’s leadership, Mount Allison’s architecture has been repeatedly transformed, each new building expressing both the localized needs and aspirations that animated its construction and aspects of the global events and aesthetic movements that informed its design.
Leroux and Holownia demonstrate how architecture can record the complex story of an institution’s development and embody the hopes and dreams of a community.
About the authors
Architect and art historian John Leroux takes a holistic view of his profession, seeing beyond buildings themselves into the cultural, intellectual and physical landscapes to which they contribute. Born in Fredericton, Leroux graduated from the McGill School of Architecture in 1994 and completed a Masters degree in Canadian Art History at Concordia University in 2002. He has worked at several award-winning architecture firms in Toronto, Atlanta and Fredericton, and also teaches at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and St. Thomas University. He has won many awards for architectural and public art projects throughout Canada, and has pursued various creative disciplines such as set design for Theatre New Brunswick. A contributing architecture columnist for the Telegraph-Journal and Canadian Architect magazine, he is also the author of three books on New Brunswick architecture: A Fredericton Alphabet, Building Capital: A Guide to Fredericton’s Historic Landmarks, and Building New Brunswick: an architectural history.
Thaddeus Holownia is a teacher, visual artist, letterpress printer and publisher. Currently he is a professor and head of the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University. Holownia’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including most recently, Thaddeus Holownia: the Terra Nova Suite, a twenty-five-year survey of his Newfoundland and Labrador work presented by the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in St. John’s. His photographs have been included in numerous group exhibitions, including The Landscape: Eight Canadian Photographers by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Klienburg, and Monet’s Legacy: Series. Order and Obsession at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. He has been the recipient of many awards and honours including a Fulbright Fellowship in 2001 and the Paul Paré Medal in 1998 and 2006 from Mount Allison University in recognition of excellence in teaching, creative activity, research and community service. In 2000 Holownia was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick’s Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts and the Order of New Brunswick.
Other titles by John Leroux
Wabanaki Modern | Wabanaki Kiskukewey | Wabanaki Moderne
The Artistic Legacy of the 1960s “Micmac Indian Craftsmen” | Ta'n Koqoey Naqtmuksi'kɨpp 1960ekk “Mi'kmewaqq L'nu'k ta'n Natawiteka'tijik” | L’héritage artistique des Micmac Indian Craftsmen des années 1960
A Natural Balance
The K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University
Bibliography of New Brunswick Architecture
A Retrospective / Une Rétrospective
Ian MacEachern's Photographs of Saint John
Restoring the Lost Fred Ross Mural
Glorious Light: The Stained Glass of Fredericton
Building a University
The Architecture of UNB