210 Denison Road
Roy Denny House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
210 Denison Road is a four-level-split stucco-clad house in the Art Moderne style located in Oak Bay, British Columbia. The main façade is on the high side of a steep slope; the garage is on the uppermost level. At the rear is a rocky, landscaped garden with views across Juan de Fuca Strait.
210 Denison Road is an integral component of a cluster of Art Moderne houses in this rocky area of Oak Bay, and has value as one of the few houses in this style in Oak Bay. The house illustrates many of the characteristics of the Art Moderne style, which grew out of Art Deco, but is more streamlined, with spare ornamentation. Art Moderne buildings are characterized by flat roofs, horizontality, curves, ribbon windows, and stucco cladding. They were sometimes regarded as 'ultra-modern'. The style was popular in Europe, less so in North America, in the late 1930s and during the Second World War. In Oak Bay this style is rare, limited to a cluster of houses on Denison Road, King George Terrace and Sylvan Lane. This cluster represents a rare grouping in the Greater Victoria area.
The house, completed in 1938, is also valued for its associations with the architect Hanns Carl Berchtenbreiter. Berchtenbreiter was born in Munich, obtained a PhD in architecture, and practiced in the Netherlands. His love of the outdoors brought him to Canada in 1930. After a period of designing in a traditional style he turned, in the late 1930s, to severe Modernism. Berchtenbreiter was responsible for a number of Art Moderne houses in Vancouver and Oak Bay, such as the nearby Harrison Residence at 301 Denison Road. However the anti-German feeling engendered by the Second World War was such that Berchtenbreiter moved to California, where he stayed for the remainder of his life.
This house is further valued for its association with the Denny family, who for over ninety years were the owners of Standard Furniture, one of Victoria's most prestigious and respected furniture stores. Roy Denny commissioned Berchtenbreiter to design the house; it was built by Denny's brother's father-in-law, Howard Harris.
Source: District of Oak Bay
Key elements that define the heritage character of 210 Denison Road include its:
- setting on a steep rocky site with views across Juan de Fuca Strait to the Olympic mountains in Washington state
- location with minimal setback from the street
- residential form, scale and massing
- flat roof
- wood-frame construction with stucco cladding
- Art Moderne style details such as curving bays, ribbon windows, minimal ornamentation, stucco cladding, geometric design on rainwater hopper head
- exterior architectural details such as one internal chimney
- regular fenestration
- landscape design, containing appropriate rockery plants
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Hanns Carl Berchtenbreiter
Location of Supporting Documentation
District of Oak Bay
Cross-Reference to Collection