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SLEEK: Hamilton's Modernist Residential Architecture 1950-1975

Whether called a house, a home, a residence, a dwelling, or simply a place, always we make it possessive. It’s our house. Their place. My home. Whether grand or humble, unique or ubiquitous,
traditional or modern, it's never about the materials, or the size to which we lay claim It's to the idea of a
space, an enclosure, a vessel made personal by what we put in it, and by how we live our lives within it. Combining personal possessions and a chosen lifestyle to fashion an individual experience.

From just after the turn of the last century, a new approach to residential, commercial and institutional
architecture was evident in Europe and North America. Sleek lines, industrial materials, open and integrated spaces, little or no ornamentation, all were the antithesis of the styles which preceded what would be called the International Style and Modernism. The term Mid-Century Modern focuses on the period of Modernism from the 1950's through to the mid 1970's. It is this period that SLEEK - Hamilton's Modernist Residential Architecture, celebrates.

Each of the residences in this exhibition have a special provenance and singularity. Each was designed by an architect, mostly for specific clients. Each is designed in the modern style. Each is located in the now amalgamated City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Each was constructed between 1950 and 1975.

Each is still a home. Where the original owners have moved on, others have moved in. Most are in original condition. They continue now as they did then, as unique statements to a very modern way of living.

Hamilton HIStory + HERitage would like to thank each of the owners of the marvelous homes featured in this exhibition. We thank them for allowing us to showcase the beauty, elegance and uniqueness of the places each of them call home. We’d also like to thank architect Tony Butler, photographer Jeff Tessier, printer Tom Kelly of CopyDog, and Brian Kowalewicz and Paul Dolanjski of Historical Hamilton, for their remarkable work in helping to make this exhibition possible.

Be sure to check out the photographs and the location of each SLEEK home on Google at

This podcast features an interview between Graham Crawford, Founder of HIStory + HERitage, and Hamilton-based, and now retired, architect Anthony Butler. Tony did all of the research for the SLEEK exhibition. During the interview, Tony talks about his own experience as an architect, and discusses how he conducted his research for the exhibition.


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