Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

People

Architects

Wolfgang Gerson

  • 1916 - 1991
  • FRAIC, MAIBC, RCA

Biography

Wolfgang Gerson arrived in Winnipeg in 1947, one of a number of new hires who would transform the teaching of architecture at the University of Manitoba in the early post-war years. Born in Hamburg, Germany, Gerson was educated in Britain at the West of England Academy's School of Architecture, graduating in 1935-36. He subsequently earned a degree from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1939; the Architectural Association has been described as the first modernist school in the United Kingdom. Gerson worked in London for a period and then emigrated to Canada, settling in Montreal. Shortly thereafter he was interned in Camp A in Farnham, Quebec, and Camp N in Sherbrooke, Quebec, sites camp established to hold refugees and internees during the Second World War. Camp N was also host to future University of Manitoba student, Harry Seidler, who would later study at Harvard University and become one of Australia's most noted designers. At the camps Gerson continued his interest in the arts, painting on whatever items were available and playing piano. This period was followed by work in Montreal with H. E. Greenspoon in 1944 and with James Cecil McDougall from 1944-46.

In 1947 Gerson came to Winnipeg, hired by the University of Manitoba, registering with the Manitoba Association of Architects in April of that year. In Winnipeg, beyond teaching, Gerson was responsible for the design of his own home in 1950 at 545 South Drive and the Triangle Gardens Housing Project at 652 Herbert Avenue in 1957, completed with assistance by the firm of Waisman Ross. While in Winnipeg Gerson also served as Vice-President of the Winnipeg Chamber Music Club (1949-50). Following an engaging period in the city, Gerson left to pursue further teaching and practice in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia, where we taught until 1981. In the 1960s, while working in Vancouver, he also served on the Canadian airport art committee. Gerson became a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1976.

Projects

  • Gerson Residence, 545 South Drive, 1950
  • Low Cost Housing and Slum Clearance Project (with Soderlind), 1956
  • Triangle Gardens Housing Project, 652 Herbert Avenue, 1957 (with Waisman Ross)
  • Gerson Residence, 1040 Aubeneau Crescent, West Vancouver, B.C., 1958
  • Sentinel Hill Residence, West Vancouver, B.C.,1957
  • Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., 1963-64