13820 109A Avenue, Edmonton
Designed by: Hemingway and Laubenthal
With possible zoning changes coming in the near future, the Westmount Presbyterian Church from 1958 remains a paramount example of Modernist design due to its simple massing and use of only the most necessary building components. Wood siding and concrete blocks, humble and locally-sourced material used in many buildings of the post-war era, were used in creative ways to create visual interest in lieu of decorative add-ons. An example of this can be seen in the pattern created by staggering concrete blocks on the exterior walls.
The changing depth of the eaves on the low-slope roofline creates a dynamic feel to this otherwise modest and low-profile building. The sanctuary is expressed through the vaulted interior ceiling utilizing a long span structure. Concrete block masonry composes the exterior wall of the sanctuary and is punctured by curtain wall glazing and placement of window-dividing mullions at human proportions. A flat roof extends over the front porch, supported by painted steel structural columns. There is a deep overhang at the front entrance that serves as a very practical response to Prairie winters, and creates a sense of entrance and a welcoming space to mingle – one of the most social aspects of attending church.
Linear motifs play a big role in the look and feel of Westmount Presbyterian. Long and low horizontal lines pay homage to the local landscape and are complemented by the lines in the tongue and groove wood soffits and siding. Asymmetrical stained glass windows and large expanses of glass throughout the front walls allow natural light inside and blur the division between the interior and exterior. Previously clad in brick, the lengthy services building has been re-clad in durable tin siding likely as an attempt to reduce maintenance costs to the overall structure.
Edmonton’s “Sunday Modernism” – Modernist Churches in the Post-War Era - Edmonton City as Museum Project