Demolished Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in Banff May Be Rebuilt

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By Allie Weiss / Published by Dwell
The Banff Pavilion, controversially demolished in 1938, is on track to be reconstructed.

Esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed only two structures in Canada. One of them, a pavilion in Banff, Alberta, no longer stands. In 1938, the 1914 building was razed, following significant damage from flooding. Initially, there had been reports that the structure did not meet the town's needs. Created as a visitor center for the adjacent recreation grounds, the structure supposedly was not what Banff's residents had requested—a sporting facility with curling and hockey rinks. It also did not stand up particularly well to the harsh Canadian winter. However, in the years that followed, it eventually became popular among the town's residents and visitors, and its demolition was met with protest.

Demolished Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in Banff May Be Rebuilt - Photo 1 of 4 - An archival photo of the pavilion. It featured one long, rectangular room with exposed eaves.

An archival photo of the pavilion. It featured one long, rectangular room with exposed eaves.

The architectural community and Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts have similarly lamented the destruction of the pavilion, which featured a single long room with overlapping eaves and a low-hipped roof. It was an example of Wright's Prairie School Style, known for its horizontal lines that reference the prairie landscape. The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative, which works to bring demolished or never-realized Wright structures back to life, has spearheaded an effort to rebuild the pavilion. The Banff town council has only recently welcomed discussions to create a new pavilion, and six out of seven council members just voted in favor of the proposal to reconstruct the Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Read more on the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative website.

Demolished Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in Banff May Be Rebuilt - Photo 2 of 4 - The structure was the only example of Wright's Prairie School style to be built in Canada.

The structure was the only example of Wright's Prairie School style to be built in Canada.

Demolished Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in Banff May Be Rebuilt - Photo 3 of 4 - The pavilion was designed in 1911 and constructed in 1914.

The pavilion was designed in 1911 and constructed in 1914.

Demolished Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in Banff May Be Rebuilt - Photo 4 of 4 - The structure may be reconstructed following a proposal led by the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative.

The structure may be reconstructed following a proposal led by the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative.