[War Memorial Gymnasium - The Architects' Vision]

Undaunted by the unexpectedly slow progress in fundraising efforts, the Committee directed the architectural firm of Sharp, Thompson, Berwick and Pratt to develop master plans for the building that would serve the University’s gymnasium needs and also incorporate the idea of a memorial to BC’s war dead.


The architects were instructed to give first priority to the memorial aspect in their planning. Members of the Memorial Gymnasium Committee made clear that the design of the proposed gym used during the campaign was for publicity purposes only and would not constrain the architects in any way. It was hoped that by the time the plans had been completed and approved sufficient funds would be in place to proceed with tenders on the project.

In early November 1947 the blueprints prepared for War Memorial Gymnasium by Ned Pratt and F.W. Urry received final approval. Based on their research of contemporary gymnasiums and swimming pools, the design called for a modern style of architecture.


[model of War Memorial Gym]
Architects' model - ca. 1950
(UBC 3.1/1181)


The memorial hall entry would feature a glass wall looking out on a panoramic view of the mountains to the north. The plans also included details for a covered swimming pool.

Although funds pledged for the project were insufficient to proceed with construction, the Memorial Gym Committee decided to stage a sod turning ceremony. On 11 November 1947, the Honourable E.C. Carson, Provincial Minister of Public Works, turned the first sod for the project as part of the Remembrance Day services at the University.


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