Lawson, Harold

LAWSON, Harold (1885-1969) of Montreal, Que., a successful architect in that city in partnership with Harold R. Little from 1922 until 1948. Born in New York City on 21 June 1885, he was educated there in public schools and later graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1903. He then trained in the offices of several local architects in New York City, and later moved to Montreal, Que. in 1911 where he joined the office of Brown & Vallance. Lawson then opened his own office in Montreal in 1920. It was there that he met Harold R. Little who had graduated from McGill University in 1910 and who had worked as Staff Architect to the Merchant’s Bank of Canada. When this bank was absorbed by the Bank of Montreal in early 1922, it was logical that the Bank would seek out the services of the new firm of Lawson & Little, formed in 1922, to carry out the design of several branches of the bank in Ontario and Quebec. These classically inspired pavilions were carefully proportioned and finely detailed interpretations of the “temple bank”, with bold massing and restrained exterior ornament.

Their best-known work in Canada was a surprising departure from conventional urban forms. In 1929 they were commissioned to design a substantial resort chateau near Montebello, Que., to be constructed entirely of wood logs, a traditional Canadian building material used for construction since the late 18th C. With long wings radiating outward from a lofty six-storey high central rotunda dominated by mammoth fireplaces, this resort became a popular destination and is still in use today. As their practise flourished, the firm of Lawson & Little adopted a more stripped-down modernist approach to design, best seen in their elevational treatment for the Guardian Trust Building in Montreal (1938). A little-known and underrated work by the firm during this period is the Grand Falls Academy, at Grand Falls, Newfoundland (1935), a remarkably sophisticated work, and perhaps their most significant commission outside of the province of Quebec. Their firm remained active until the death of Little in September 1948. Lawson continued to practise in partnership with Randolph Betts and Donald H. Cash until after 1960. Lawson died in Montreal on 23 June 1969 (obituary and port in the Gazette [Montreal], 26 June 1969, 47; biog. R. Hamilton, Prominent Men of Canada, 1931-32, 517; biog. and port. in the Financial Post [Toronto], 5 May 1945, 6; biog. and port. National Reference Book, ix, 1951, 346-47; biog. and list of works in E. McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, pub. 1988, 217-18; inf. from Randolph C. Betts, Montreal)


RICHMOND, QUE., The Wales Home for the Aged, 1921 (C.R., xxxv, 9 Nov. 1921, 979, illus. & descrip.)

LAWSON & LITTLE (works in Montreal unless noted)

Commercial & Industrial works

KINGSTON, ONT., Bank of Montreal, King Street, 1923 (R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, June 1927, 224, 227-8, illus.)
FREDERICTON, N.B., Bank of Montreal, Queen Street at Carleton Street, 1924 (inf. from Bank of Montreal Premises Dept.)
QUEBEC CITY, QUE., Bank of Montreal, St. Pierre Street at St. Jacques Street, 1927 (C.R., xli, 20 April 1927, 55, t.c.; R.A.I.C. Journal, v, June 1928, 212)
QUEBEC CITY, QUE., Royal Bank, Baude Street, 1927 (C.R., xli, 14 Sept. 1927, 55)
WESTMOUNT, Westmount Realty Co. Offices, Greene Avenue near Sherbrooke Street West, a three storey office with apartments above, 1928 (Gazette [Montreal], 28 April 1928, 5; inf. Scott Edwards)
SINGER SEWING MACHINE CO., Ste. Catherine Street West near Victoria Street, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 30 May 1928, 169)
RICHMOND, QUE., Bank of Montreal, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 6 June 1928, 55)
MONTREAL WEST, Bank of Montreal, 1928 (inf. from Bank of Montreal Premises Dept., Montreal)
(with Ernest Flagg, New York City) JAMES T. STANGER CO., St. James Street West, near Beaver Hall Hill, office building, 1929-30 (C.R., xliii, 3 July 1929, 63; Gazette [Montreal], 9 July 1929, 5, descrip.; inf. Scott Edwards)
ROBERVAL, QUE., Bank of Montreal, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 17 July 1929, 61)
LA SALLE, office and factory for Burroughs-Wellcome & Co., Riverview Avenue, 1929-30 (C.R., xliii, 21 Aug. 1929, 98; Montreal, Architecture Industrielle, 1982, 286-7, illus.)
OTTAWA, ONT., Flood, Potter & Co. Brokerage, new offices on the ground floor of the Standard Bank Building, Sparks Street, 1929 (Ottawa Journal, 11 Oct. 1929, 27, descrip.)
QUEBEC CITY, QUE., Industrial Life Insurance Co., l'Eglise Street at des Fosses Street, office building, 1929-30 (C.R., xliii, 20 Nov. 1929, 55; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, Dec. 1931, 410)
(with Edwin S. Kent & George W. White) MONTEBELLO, QUE., Chateau Montebello, on Lake Papineau, 1930 (Const., xxiii, Aug. 1930, 261-71, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, Jan. 1931, 13-21, illus. & descrip.; xviii, April 1941, 67, illus.; C.H.G., viii, Aug. 1931, 20-4, illus.; A. Muir, Building the Chateau Montebello, 1980, 15, illus.)
FORT WILLIAM, ONT., Bank of Montreal, Simpson Street at Victoria Avenue, 1937 (C.R., vol. 50, 12 May 1937, 37)
RED ROCK, ONT., Red Rock Inn, for the Lake Nipigon Sulphite Pulp & Paper Co., 1937 (C.R., vol. 50, 15 Sept. 1937, 147)
GUARDIAN TRUST CO., St. James Street, facing Victoria Square, major addition and alterations to office block, 1938 (Gazette [Montreal], 10 Sept. 1938, 43, illus. & descrip.; Financial Post [Toronto], 1 Oct. 1938, 16, extensive descrip. & illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, xvii, Nov. 1940, 194, illus.; inf. Scott Edwards)
STE. ADELE, QUE., major additions to the White House Hotel, for T.G. Potter, 1940 (C.R., liii, 15 May 1940, 21; R.A.I.C. Journal, xviii, April 1941, 58)

Residential works

OUTREMONT, residence for A. Reeve, Beloeil Avenue, 1922 (Outremont b.p. 1502, 10 May 1922)
OUTREMONT, residence for Martin J. Gorman, Pagnuelo Avenue, 1922 (Outremont b.p. 1527, 21 June 1922)
WESTMOUNT, residence for the architect Harold R. Little, Anwoth Road, 1924 (E. McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, 1988, 217-18)
WESTMOUNT, residence for W.E.C. Irwin, Anwoth Road, 1924 (E. McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, 1988, 217-18)
OUTREMONT, residence for Robert Neville Jr., Cote Ste. Catherine, 1924 (Outremont b.p. 1759, 15 April 1924)
LACHINE, QUE., a tract of thirty eight houses for Ferry Gardens Ltd., 1925 (C.R., xxxix, 25 Nov. 1925, 51)
HERMITAGE APARTMENTS, [later called The Berkeley Hotel], Sherbrooke Street West near Stanley Street, 1928, and incorporated into the Maison Alcan complex in 1983 (C.R., xlii, 28 March 1928, 52; Gazette [Montreal], 18 April 1928, 4; Montreal, Les Hotels Les Immeubles de Bureaux, 1983, 252-4, illus.; inf. Scott Edwards)
QUEBEC CITY, QUE., residence for Arthur Clifford Price, Battlefield Park Drive, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 5 Sept. 1928, 63; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, Dec. 1931, 411)
KNOWLTON, QUE., residence for V.E. Price, 1930 (E. McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, 1988, 217-18)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for Allen McMartin, 1931 (C.H.G., viii, Nov. 1931, 29-31, illus.; xiv, March 1937, 24, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for E.J. Hunt, 1931 (C.H.G., ix, March 1932, 31, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for T.A. Somerville, 1932 (C.H.G., ix, June 1932, 30, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for Dr. J.A. Demers, 1932 (C.H.G., ix, July 1932, 32, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., 'Hillside', a residence for W.B. Sewell, 1932 (C.H.G., ix, Sept. 1932, 16-17, illus.; x, May 1933, 34-5, illus.; xii, Aug.-Sept. 1935, 40, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for Dr. T.G. Foran, 1932 (C.H.G., ix, Oct. 1932, 18-19, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for W.E. Shuttleworth, 1933 (C.H.G., x, March 1933, 38, illus.)
WESTMOUNT, residence for A.S. Bruneau, Bellevue Avenue, 1933 (C.R., xlvii, 1 March 1933, 38)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., 'Multnomah', residence for R.F. Porter, 1934 (C.H.G., xi, April 1934, 36-7, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for C.P. Neill, 1934 (C.H.G., xi, May 1934, 24, illus.)
HAMPSTEAD, residence for Stanley Stranger, Stratford Road, 1935-36 (C.R., xlix, 25 Dec. 1935, 96; C.H.G., xiv, March 1937, 30, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, xviii, May 1941, 84, illus.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for John Stadler, 1937 (C.H.G., xiv, Oct. 1937, 23, illus.)
BAIE COMEAU, QUE., The Manoir Comeau, a large staff residence for the Ontario Paper Co., 1937-38 (Financial Post [Toronto], 23 April 1938, 10, illus. in advert.)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residences for G.E. Hackney and A.A. Martin, 1938 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xvi, May 1939, 114, illus.; xviii, Jan. 1941, 12-13, illus.; C.H.G., xvi, July 1939, 27, illus.)
QUEBEC CITY, QUE., residence for Arthur Clifford Price, Price Avenue, 1939 (dwgs. at ANQ, Staveley Coll. 464)
MONTEBELLO, QUE., residence for J.M. Forbes, 1940 (C.H.G., xvii, May 1940, 22, illus.)

Institutional & Ecclesiastical works

MONTREAL AMATEUR ATHLETIC GROUNDS, Ste. Catherine Street West, grandstand, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 10 Oct. 1928, 59)
WEST HILL HIGH SCHOOL, West Hill Avenue, major addition, 1931 (C.R., xlv, 13 May 1931, 57)
ROYAL VICTORIA HOSPITAL, Pine Avenue West, Nurse's Home, 1932; enlargement of Intern's Residence, 1937; new Main Entrance, 1942 (R.A.I.C. Journal, ix, Feb. 1932, 37-8; Montreal, Les Edifices Publics, 1981, 266-75, illus.; Annmarie Adams, Medicine by Design: The Architect and the Modern Hospital 1893-1943, 2008, 79-84, illus.)
MONTREAL MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY, Cote de Liesse Road, entrance gates, 1934; mausoleum, 1937 (E. McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, 1988, 217-18)
GRAND FALLS, NFLD., High School, Maple Street, 1935 (E. McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, 1988, 217-18)
HAMPSTEAD, Golf Club House, Queen Mary Road at Ferncroft Road, 1936 (Daily Commercial News [Toronto], 4 June 1936, 5, illus.)
HAMPSTEAD, major addition to Hampstead Public School, Thurlow Road at Merton Street, 1937-38 (C.R., vol. 50, 18 Aug. 1937, 37; Gazette [Montreal], 22 Feb. 1938, 16, illus. & descrip., but lacking attribution; inf. Scott Edwards)
(with Franco Consiglio) ST. MALACHY'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Clanranald Avenue at Isabella Avenue, c. 1940 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xviii, April 1941, 62, illus.)
ALLAN MEMORIAL INSTITUTE, Pine Avenue West, conversion of 'Ravenscrag', the residence for Sir Hugh Allan into a Psychiatric Institute, 1943-44 (F. Remillard & B. Merrett, Mansions of the Golden Square Mile Montreal 1850-1930, 1987, 80, ilus.; Montreal, Les Residences, 1987, 21, illus.)
KNOWLTON, QUE., High School, 1945 (C.R., xviii, April 1945, 88)
ST. HILAIRE, QUE., Dieppe Home for Epileptics, 1945 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxii, Nov. 1945, 234, illus.)
ST. JEROME, QUE., Bell Telephone Exchange, 1947 (C.R., lx, July 1947, 104)
HALIFAX, N.S., Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Co., North Street, 1948 (C.R., lxi, Oct. 1948, 180)


HAMPSTEAD, QUE., residence for Dr. H. LaCharite, 1949 (C.H.G., xxvi, Aug. 1949, 19, illus.)
ST. ROSE, QUE., Rayonese Textiles Ltd., weaving plant, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Sept. 1949, 165)
MAGOG, QUE., Public School, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, Jan. 1950, 144)
BANK OF MONTREAL, Ste. Catherine Street West at University Street, major alterations, 1950 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvii, Oct. 1950, 344, illus.)