Mr. Harper, tear down this house!

Joe Clark’s wife doesn’t think 24 Sussex is worth saving


Stephen Harper and his family are apparently planning to move out of the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex in order to allow wholesale renovations to take place. But a former resident of the house says it’s not be worth saving. Maureen McTeer, the wife of former prime minister Joe Clark, argues that, instead of renovating the worn-down mansion, Canada should put its energies toward replacing it with an “architectural showcase.” According to McTeer, while the grounds surrounding the house are “magnificient,” its interior was indiscriminately gutted during the last major renovations (in 1949) and there’s little architectural value to what was left.

The Hill Times

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Mr. Harper, tear down this house!

  1. Yes ! I am sure that the cost of totally replacing the residence with a state-of-the art, modern “green” building would be the same if not less than any kind of restorations.

  2. A possible compromise might be to integrate the facade and any other salvageable archetecture while installing a modern building inside, as is done reclaiming turn of the century stone buildings in Winnipeg. The style, when they do this sort of mixing of archetectures, is often described as postmodern archetecture.

    • Well, good luck with that. Here in Halifax the heritage loons go nuts when any developer tries to do just that. Evrything has to be frozen in time as people, business and developers flee the downtown. Cheers

      • It is a difficult sell to both sides, in some ways. Hired architechts might resist the constraints on their project, and of course, your point, there are heritage groups that might also be against aggressive reworking of the spaces. That said, ideally what can be done is that the best elements, including the majestic facade, can be preserved and even highlighted by their new context, while new structures and contemporary ideas can make the new building much more suitable to the many roles it serve. It can also be an opportunity to incorporate some meaningful green aspects. Of course, taking this sort of multiplicitous approach to things, trying to balance many concers, is risky.

        architecture, architecture, architecture *sigh*

  3. Why not have the PM’s residence be Rideau Hall. Does the GG really need all that?

    • Excellent idea. This way, instead of crossing the street to get his proroguations, the PM can just shuffle across the hallway in his bunny slippers to get the GG to put the House to sleep.