Parks Canada Rustic Architecture

The world’s first national park was Yellowstone, created in 1872. This new concept of natural landscapes preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of all necessitated a new style of architecture that accented the beauty of nature. Architects like Robert Reamer, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, and Mary Colter pioneered “National Parks Rustic,” a style that utilized local materials and rough-hewn construction, often with Mission, Swiss, and Craftsman influences.

The style immigrated to Canada along with the concept of the national park, where it ran concurrently with the Railway Gothic style favoured by government buildings and the Canadian Pacific Railway. In many ways, National Parks Rustic influenced the expression of Railway Gothic in Western Canada. Whereas Railway Gothic buildings in Eastern Canada look as though they might have been plucked directly from France (for example, the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa), in the Rockies they were hybridized with National Parks Rustic through the use of local building stone and other adaptations.

Across Canada are several significant examples of the National Parks Rustic style.

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