Noted mainly for his Tudor Revival house designs with their open plans and two-storey central halls, Maclure's buildings use native materials and local construction techniques. He pioneered a local variant of the shingle style, worked in traditional board-and-batten, and after 1912 turned increasingly to Edwardian classicism. The use of unbarked log-slab construction combined with fieldstone masonry was a feature of much of his work. His meticulous construction supervision and finely detailed plans and drawings caused contractors to add a surcharge to their estimates. His clientele, however, appreciated this attention to detail. He was noted for his ability to exploit the topography of the site: windows, porches and verandahs were oriented to capture the dramatic Pacific coast views. Clients were often impressed by the delicate watercolour presentation sketches that accompanied the sets of plans. Indeed throughout his life Maclure produced and sold distinctive impressionistic watercolour paintings featuring the landscape of Vancouver Island. His commissions for the social and political elite of the province were published in leading national and international journals such as Canadian Architect and Builder, Canadian Homes and Gardens, Country Life, The Studio and Craftsman.
During Maclure's career, his offices were responsible for over 450 commissions including: Government House (1900-3; destroyed 1957), Victoria in collaboration with Francis Mawson RATTENBURY; Hatley Park (1907), Colwood, a "castle" and estate for industrialist and politician James DUNSMUIR; manager's residences for the BANK OF MONTREAL in various British Columbia towns and numerous houses in Shaughnessy Heights, an exclusive suburb of Vancouver, financed by the CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Maclure was also well known for his garden and landscape designs that skilfully combined native flora with the plant materials and the natural design aesthetic of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. He was for many years consultant to the extensive public garden development of Mrs. Butchart, near Victoria.
Maclure's influence on BC building design was so pervasive that into the 1940s government buildings and schools throughout the province emulated his early half-timbered commissions in Victoria's prestigious Rockland area. His early works in particular, a very personal interpretation of the shingle style and half-timber façade treatment, influenced a generation of British Columbia architects throughout the province.
Author MARTIN SEGGER
Martin Segger and D. Franklin, The Buildings of Samuel Maclure: In Search of Appropriate Form (1986); J. Bingham, Samuel Maclure, Architect (1985); L.K. Eaton, The Architecture of Samuel Maclure (1971).
Links to Other Sites
A biography of renowned BC architect Samuel MacLure. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Hatley Park National Historic Site
This site features illustrated inventories of plants located in the gardens of Hatley Park National Historic Site in Victoria, BC.
The Canadian Register of Historic Places
Canada is home to a vast array of fascinating historical sites. Many of them are illustrated and described in this searchable online database of Canadian historic places that are of local, provincial, territorial, and national significance.
The Arts and Crafts Movement
A nicely illustrated review of Victoria’s Arts and Crafts Movement from the University of Victoria website.
Rockland Heritage Walking Tour
An illustrated tour of heritage landmarks in the Rockland neighbourhood of Victoria, BC. Features Government House, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Craigdarroch Castle, and many other stately residents designed by Francis Rattenbury, Samuel Maclure, and other notable architects. From the Rockland Neighbourhood Association.
The Great Architects of Canada: Samuel Maclure
A profile of renowned west coast architect Samuel Maclure. From the "History to the People" website.