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Heather Hollingdale | Penticton Art Moderne 1930-1950


Kelwona based photographer Heather Hollingdale presents a photo essay documenting some of the unique homes and architectural details inspired by the Art Moderne movement. These homes still inspire pride in their owners and reflect the ideals and sense of impending prosperity experienced here during the late 1930's through the 1950's. Today these homes still make a statement but often lay unnoticed in amongst the growing urban sprawl and the tendency to infill. 

Art Moderne follows closely after Art Deco and for many of the same reasons. Art Deco was a response to the new age of speed and electricity and was largely for the wealthy. Art Moderne was a response from designers to the needs of ordinary citizens living in the modern world of cars, airplanes and automats. Much of the strength of the Art Deco style was in the emphasis on exquisite craftsmanship and over-the-top detailing. Art Moderne designers looked towards a new age with excellent design for everyone. The artisan and his hand tolls were set aside for the age of the machine with the idea that mass production and quality were not mutually exclusive. The new look can be summed up in one word - Streamlined. A basic rectangular building can be made "Classical" by the addition of columns, a pediment, or an architrave. The same building can be made "Moderne" with the addition of curved bays, chrome siding, Vitrolite, glass block, or neon signage. Art Moderne is a style that is largely for the small-business person. These designs are generally found on restaurants, cinemas, drug stores, hardware stores and the residences of desperately tasteful people.

In exploring Penticton architectural history it's the examples of Art Moderne architecture which stand put and have endured the test of time and pressures of development. These building retain their distinctive and graceful appearance, tucked in amidst newer urban developments. In documenting these homes it became apparent that the personalities attached to these residences, both historical and presently, were equally fascinating and unique. Common amongst all was the sense of pride each homeowner attached to their home and their fierce desire to maintain the spirit and unique flavour of the residence. These homes stand out today in as much as they have survived the test of time and still sell the idea of a bright and prosperous future.

Over the intervening fifty plus years these homes have not lost any of their grace, and today they are anchors of Penticton's character and appeal. Every house has a history and a personality. In her photography Heather works to draw out and document the inherent character of her subjects, weather they're living or man-made. Every house tells its own story through its dents, scratches, the ripple of old window glass, layers of paint, and gardens groomed of left to grow wild. In documenting these structures Heather has uncovered much more behind each home's sleek and graceful façade, revealing the unique personality of each building and tracing its history back to the foundations.