Ronald Thom

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Ronald Thom
Born May 15, 1923
Penticton, British Columbia,
Died October 29, 1986
Toronto, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater Vancouver School of Art
Awards OC
Practice Thom Partnership
Buildings Massey College and Trent University's riverside campus.

Ronald James Thom, OC (May 15, 1923 – October 29, 1986) was a Canadian architect. He is one of the most admired Canadian designers of universities for his two masterpieces, Massey College and Trent University's riverside campus.

Early years[edit]

He was born in Penticton, British Columbia, the son of James Thom and Elena Myrtle Fennel. Thom served as an aviator with the RCAF during World War II,[1] returned and graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in 1947. He never went to architecture school but apprenticed at Thompson, Berwick & Pratt, where he quickly became recognized as an unusually gifted drawer and designer. He was the primary designer of the B.C. Electric Building (now known as The Electra) on Burrard Street, in Vancouver, British Columbia. and also designed notable houses in the Vancouver area, several of which won Massey Awards, the country's top award for architecture. In 1957, he became a registered architect at Thompson, Berwick and Pratt and a partner shortly afterward.

Professional practice[edit]

He established R.J. Thom & Associates in Toronto in 1963 and later the Thom Partership. He was a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. In 1980, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He had a lifelong battle with alcoholism and was eventually forced out of the partnership by some younger partners. He died at his office in 1986 after a bout of heavy drinking. His ashes were taken back by his family and scattered off the Pacific Ocean at ighthouse Park in West Vancouver.[2]

He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition in 2013 and 2014, "Ron Thom and the Allied Arts" featuring a collection of photographs, drawings, letters and furniture that he designed for his buildings. The exhibition was shown in British Columbia in 2013, at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto beginning in February 2014, and at the Beaverbrook Gallery, Fredericton in November 2014.[3]

Works[edit]

Building Year Completed Architect Style Location Image
Master plan and buildings of Massey College 1963 Ronald Thom Modern architecture / Medieval Oxbridge College University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario Massey-dining-hall.jpg
Fraser Residence (Fraser House) 1968 (restoration completed by Altius Architecture in 2001) Ronald Thom and Paul Merrick (Co-designer) Modern architecture 4 Old George Place (Rosedale Ravine) Toronto, Ontario
B.C. Electric Building 1957 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 989 Nelson Street at Burrard, Vancouver Former BC Hydro Builda - aka the Electra image 4.JPG
Catherine Parr Traill College Master plan and renovations of buildings; Champlain College, Lady Eaton College, the Bata Library and science complex on the Symons Campus 1969–1973 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario Trent University Bata Library.jpg
St. Jude's Cathedral (Iqaluit) 1970 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Iqaluit (destroyed 2005) Iqaluit St Jude 1995-06-08.jpg
Fleming College 1973 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Peterborough, Ontario Fleming Sutherland Front.jpg
Pearson College of the Pacific 1977 Ronald Thom & Barry Vance Downs Modern architecture Victoria, British Columbia
College Education Centre 1982 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Nipissing University, Nipissing, Ontario
Toronto Zoo - master plan and pavilions (including African and Indo-Malayisan Pavilions) 1974 Ronald Thom with Craig & Boake and Clifford & Laurie Modern architecture Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, Toronto, Ontario
Atria North office complex (Phase I), North York 1978-80 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 2255 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario Rogers North York.jpg
New Shaw Festival Theatre 1973 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts 1977 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 130 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario Oakville Centre front.jpg
The Westin Prince Hotel, Toronto 1975 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 900 York Mills Road, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson Architecture Building 1979-1981 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Ryerson University 325 Church Street Toronto, Ontario

Honours and Awards[4][edit]

  • Winner of Design Competition for Massey College, University of Toronto
  • Citations of Excellence in Architecture by International College and University Conference and Exposition, 1970
  • Toronto Chapter Annual Design Award - 1970
  • National Design Council Merit Awards 1971
  • Canadian Housing Design Council Award 1971
  • Canadian Architect Yearbook Award of Excellence 1974

Personal[edit]

Thom was married twice, first to Christine Helen Millard (1923-2014) in 1943[5] and survived by second wife Molly (m. 1963) and son Adam Thom (himself an architect).[6]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ? [1]
  2. ^ Ron Thom. Ron Thom House 4 Sale. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  3. ^ Alex, Bozikovik, Show traces Thom’s resolve to create buildings both quirky and humane, Globe and Mail, February 7, 2014
  4. ^ Biographies | Canadian Architectural Archives | University of Calgary. Caa.ucalgary.ca. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  5. ^ Ron Thom: Biography. Trentu.ca (1964-06-24). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  6. ^ Show traces Ron Thom’s resolve to create buildings both quirky and humane. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.