Mining Architecture

Mining and industry have shaped architecture on both large and small scales. Broadly in the early 20th century, European architects drew inspiration for modern designs from North American industries like mining and its headframes. The functional, simple, and logical designs with contemporary materials like steel and concrete influenced these architects in their own designs. Beyond just a stylistic influence, the functionality of the designs also influenced the universal design principles that continue to influence architecture today.(1)

Looking at an example of this on a smaller scale is the Hollinger Houses in Timmins. Housing was prioritized to be built after the First World War as housing shortage prevented the needed labourers from settling in the area. The Hollinger Houses, named after the Hollinger Mine, were the solution that the mine created.(2) By 1919, there were 150 four-room, tar paper houses for single family units. This number grew to well over 300 in the following years, eventually also being updated from single-story flat-roofed houses to those with peaked roofs known today.(3)

These company-made homes were identical, wrapped in either red or green tarpaper with little at their base to differentiate them from each other. This led to some confusion, with some people even walking into the wrong house at times.(4) With this need to individualize spawned a fervent gardening culture with vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, rose bushes, and lilac trees.(5) Once the mine closed in 1967, people were given the option to buy their homes, many choosing to renovate, cementing the houses even further into the community as the building blocks for many homes that still exist today.(6) Beyond just the culture that these houses spawned, they were the that first step in bringing together a community. Once people have a place to call home, they can add the other components to form a town like schools and hospitals.