Barry Downs fonds

Barry Downs fonds

Part of


  • Barry Downs (creator)
  • Barry Downs (archive creator)


Barry Downs fonds

Dates of creation



  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • 8 presentation panels
  • 6 drawings

Scope and Content

The Barry Downs fonds contains six drawings and eight presentation panels for a total of 11 projects conceived between 1956 and 1968. This period coincided with Down's position as design architect for Thompson, Berwick, Pratt & Partners, and his subsequent partnership with Fred Thornton Hollingsworth. The documents, particularly the drawings, reveal the considerable skill Downs possessed as both a draughtsman and a designer.

The fonds material related to Thompson, Berwick, Pratt & Partners includes perspective drawings by Downs of two of the firm's many University of British Columbia buildings, the Lasserre Fine Arts and Architecture Building and the Powerhouse, and a presentation drawing for the Simon Fraser University competition of 1962-1963. Also from this period, a pair of independent projects - the residence Downs built for his family, and the Ladner Pioneer Library which was executed with Richard Archambault and Blair MacDonald - are represented by large presentation panels of photographs. These panels, as well as the others in the Archive, were likely assembled as submission entries for the 1964 Massey Medals for Architecture.

There are four projects in the Fonds by Hollingsworth & Downs that date between 1963-1966. The documents include drawings for the second Rogers House, and photographs mounted on a presentation panel of the Rayer House, a residence that was awarded a silver Massey Medal for Architecture in 1964. Similar presentation panels also represent two small user-friendly medical buildings, the Bell-Rivers and Parker-Sutton clinics, by the firm.

Reference Number



The fonds is arranged chronologically by project, and organized into two series: Series 1 (AP077.S1) describes 10 projects involving Barry Downs as delineator or architect, and Series 2 (AP077.S2) describes one perspective drawing for a house scheme by architect Ronald Thom (1923-1986), a close personal friend of Downs who worked at the same time at Thompson, Berwick, Pratt. The perspective drawing shows Thom under the influence of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who's work he very much admired.

Biographical notes


Vancouver, British Columbia, 1930 -

Barry Vance Downs studied commerce at the University of British Columbia in 1948-1950 before entering the school of architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1950. During his study years, Downs worked as a summer draughtsman for architect John Graham in Seattle before he graduated in 1954 with a B. Arch. Returning to Vancouver, Downs worked for the important office of Sharp & Thompson, Berwick, Pratt from 1954-1955, and then the successor firm of Thompson, Berwick, Pratt from 1956-1963. During this period, Downs executed a number of independent projects, including the Ladner Pioneer Library, with Richard Archambault, a colleague at TBP, and a residence for his family in South Vancouver. Downs became a partner with Vancouver architect Fred Thornton Hollingsworth beginning in 1963, and then operated his own practice from 1967-1969.

Downs founded the office of Downs, Archambault & Partners with Richard B. Archambault in 1969. After designing many notable residences, the firm moved to larger projects with the completion of the North Vancouver Civic Centre (1974), and housing for the False Creek Development in Vancouver (1974-1977). Other accomplished buildings include the Britannia Community Service Centre in Vancouver, the Lester Pearson College of the Pacific at Peddlers Bay on Vancouver Island, (a collaboration with architect Ronald Thom in 1977), and the Campbell River Museum in Campbell River, British Columbia. From 1992-1994 Downs, Archambault & Partners were the associate architects for Moshe Safdie's new Vancouver Public Library and Federal Office Building.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • The Barry Downs fonds was acquired for the exhibition "The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963". The exhibition was organized by the CCA and presented at the CCA in 1997, the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1997-1998, and the Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, in 1998.

Archivist's note

  • The Barry Downs fonds was originally processed and described by David Rose in 1998. In 2009, the original finding aid was modified, by Alexis Lenk, in order to conform to updated documentation procedures.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
Barry Downs fonds, Collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal.
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.”

Related units of description

  • For further material in the CCA Archives related to the associates of Barry Downs see the Richard Archambault Fonds (AP078), and the Fred Thornton Hollingsworth Fonds (AP079).

General note

  • The publication "The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver 1938-1963", by Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, which accompanied the exhibition of the same name, was used as a source for some of the information on the architect Barry Downs, and for the documents in the fonds.

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