Stanley M. Roscoe
Today, fully engaged in retirement, when you ask Stan Roscoe if he continues to practice his craft, he answers immediately in the affirmative citing his time at the Ancaster Seniors Art Centre creating watercolour paintings. For Stan the passion of art was an important dimension in his life’s work of architecture.
Stan was born in Franklin, Manitoba. He served with the Canadian Navy during the Second World War and returned to the University of Manitoba to graduate in 1949 with a degree in Architecture. His thesis was on children’s hospitals and, because Hamilton was about to build the Nora Frances Henderson hospital project, he came east to work with now fellow Hall of Fame inductee J.D. Kyles.
In 1951, inspired by the new idea of modernism and the international style of architecture he accepted an offer by the City of Hamilton as staff architect for
major projects. This was a first in Canada. He would lead Hamilton’s efforts to build both modern and useful structures to serve the citizens of the great city that was emerging in the post war period. Many municipal structures bear his signature, some prominent and several buildings that continue today as service points to the citizens of the New City of Hamilton. Some of these are: Hamilton Health Building, Westdale Library, Fire Stations No. 11 and 4, the first Norfolk Fire Station, Macassa Lodge and most notably, City Hall.
During his private practice period, of 1961 to 1998, Stan was responsible for a large number of local landmark projects. Alexander Square, 1 James Street South, IBM Building (Main & MacNab), Villa Italia Phase I, Dresden Town Hall, Sherwood Heights School, Highland Secondary School, Fifty Point Marina Roberts Apartments (John Street North), Ancaster Old Mill addition, Burlington Golf & Country Club, Strathcona School and Ridgemenont Public School, among many other projects are examples of his work.
In all of his work, Stan was a pioneer with accessibility, the introduction of new materials and construction techniques, innovative mechanical and electrical systems, the innovative radiant floor heating, air conditioning and ‘lift slab’ construction which was prominent on the Macassa Lodge project. For the Sherwood Heights School, with engineer Gary Elliott, a heat recovery system was created using body heat at the inside of the school, stored in tanks within the grounds and used to assist with heating the perimeter of the building.
He participated in the community of architecture and life. Stan was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Ontario Association of Architect; he served in the 70’s on the OAA Committee on Fee Review. Stan knew the practical considerations and was able to influence the committee to acknowledge that a fee schedule could not be enforced. He served as Chairman of the Hamilton Society of Architects.
His community memberships included the Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, Masonic Lodge (where he achieved 32nd degree), Seymour Lodge (where he achieved 3rd degree), the Thistle Club and he was Chairman of Lynwood Hall Children’s Mental Health Residence.
Stan’s bold and innovative designs represented a standard others would follow and were widely recognized. Time magazine recognized his design of City Hall, and the Westdale Library design received a North American wide award from the Association of Librarians. When asked about his favourite work, he cites Macassa Lodge because of its service to the elderly and the City Hall project.
Clippings from the Hamilton Spectator of the late 50’s and into 1960 show how controversial the building of a new structure was to Hamiltonians, and especially to the politicians. Even Mayor Lloyd D. Jackson disliked the design; however, once approved by Council, the Mayor was certain that the architectural design of Stan Roscoe would take precedence over the opinion of the many who were not professional designers and builders. He gave his full support to the project and its architect.
With the current debate about a new City Hall, it seems nothing has changed. For Stan Roscoe, this is true as he continues in his way to perform his craft for generations more to enjoy. As an accomplished architect and a pioneer in the mixing of design skills and municipal service, among his many significant projects, we proudly accept Stanley Maurice Roscoe into the Construction Hall of Fame.