Andrew R. Cobb


Andrew R. Cobb

Andrew Randall Cobb, ARCA, FRIBA (13 June, 1876- 2 June, 1943) was a Canadian architect based in Nova Scotia.

In his day, Cobb was one of the most renowned architects in Atlantic Canada. He is one of the first "élèves" of the École des Beaux Arts to practice architecture in the region and his homes and buildings are famous for their exterior aesthetic appeal, comfortable interiors, well-crafted details and built-in furniture.

Andrew Cobb was born in Brooklyn, New York, son of an American father and a Canadian mother. He was 14 when his father died, and he moved to his mother's home province of Nova Scotia, settling in Greenwich, Kings County. He completed his schooling in nearby Horton School and later attended Acadia University. He won a scholarship to the School of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned BSc and MSc degrees (1904).

He worked in Cleveland, Ohio for the next few years, contributing to the design of, among other projects, the Cuyahoga County Court House. He spent 1907-1909 in Paris where he attended the École des Beaux Arts. During his vactions, he "toured the Continent", spending time in Italy, France and England studying architecture.

Returning to Halifax from Paris he entered into a partnership with Sydney-born architect Sydney P. Dumaresq. The partnership was dissolved in 1912 by which time both men had established sufficient reputations to strike out on their own.

He worked mainly in Nova Scotia and was busy until his life ended tragically at the age of 68. He and three others were killed instantly when the city bus on which they were travelling was struck by a car.

Major works

* The plan and many of the buildings for Dalhousie University's Studley Campus and the University of King's College campus (1913-1928).

* Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, including:

**, built in 1913, is particularly interesting for the variety of building stones used. In 1967 Emmerson Hall was converted to classrooms and offices for the School of Education. It is a registered Heritage Property.

**Horton House, designed by Cobb in the Georgian style, and built by James Reid of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia was opened in 1915 as Horton Academy. Today, Horton House is a co-educational residence.

* Neptune Theatre, Halifax, built in 1915 it was originally known as the Strand Theatre and is reputed to be the first vaudeville house designed and built specifically as a theatre.

* Greenvale School, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, built in 1915 after a fire had destroyed the previous school in 1914. Built by Rhodes and Curry of Amherst, Nova Scotia, it was used as an infirmary and a sanctuary for the homeless after the Halifax Explosion. Dozens of trees were planted surrounding the building and they are now protected as heritage trees. Greenvale School has a list of firsts, including the first kindergarten class in Canada. It was Dartmouth's first high school in 1934.

* First Baptist Church of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, built in 1922, (replacing the original church, which was built in 1843 and destroyed in the 1917 explosion). The stones used are rubble stone and the walls are 30-inches thick, which enabled the building to withstand the concussions of another explosion (at the military magazine) in July 1945 without damage.

* 710 Prince Street, Truro, Nova Scotia, built 1924. This is an example of a well-designed and well-crafted Tudor Revival House.

* Corner Brook, Newfoundland - the largest commission of his career, he designed the residential houses for the Newfoundland Pulp and Paper Company, which was constructing what was, up to that time, the largest project ever undertaken in the history of paper making. Many of the structures were inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Townsite, as the development was known, contained over 175 houses and was laid out by Thomas Adams.

** The Glynmill Inn, designed in 1923. Constructed by the English firm of Armstrong-Whitworth Co., is certainly the town's best-known building. Designed as a staff residence for Armstrong-Whitworth supervising employees. Cobb designed the Tudor-style house and in his honor the street leading to it was named Cobb Lane. A spot was reserved for the inn on the outskirts of Corner Brook between the town and the mill. Glynmill Inn is the finest building of its type in Western Newfoundland, and one of the best examples of a Tudor-inspired building in the province. The original Tudor Style half-timbering is still in place. The interior design was influenced by the Craftsman Style and remains relatively intact with few alterations.

Other contributions

* First president of the Nova Scotia Association of Architects (1932).
* Founding member and twice president of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts (later the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia)
* Fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects.
* Associate, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1942).

References

* [http://www.heritagefoundation.ca/docs/townsite.pdf Architecture and Planning of the Townsite Development Corner Brook 1923-5]
* Weir, Jean B., "Rich in Interest and Charm: The Architecture of Andrew Randall Cobb 1876-1943", Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1990


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