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John Nugent Studio

Lumsden, Saskatchewan, S0G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/05/26

Archival photo by Henry Kalen of Qu'Appelle Valley with John Nugent Studio in foreground, 1960; Clifford Wiens, 1960
View of north side of studio
South view of the exterior with some sculpture visible in the foreground; Unknown
John Nugent Studio
No Image

Other Name(s)

John Nugent Studio
John Nugent Studio
St. Mark's Shop

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1960/01/01 to 1960/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/08/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The John Nugent Studio is a Provincial Heritage Property located on a 2.7-hectare parcel of land that forms the north slope of the Qu’Appelle Valley in the Town of Lumsden. Completed in 1960 and utilizing various types of concrete construction, the property consists of a circular foundry with a conical shaped roof connected to a fan-shaped sculpture and candle making studio. The building is surrounded by several non-contributing abstract sculptures.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the John Nugent Studio lies in its architecture. Designed by prominent Saskatchewan architect Clifford Wiens, the studio represents the combination of a structural and architectural idea that resulted in a provocative form integrated with the landscape, a design philosophy that the architect has termed “total focus.” The building, composed of two sections, was inspired by the modernist concrete tensile shell structures of Mexican architect Felix Candela. The central section, originally housing a casting foundry, is partially sunken into the earth with dry-laid fieldstones covering the lower portion of the interior. The roof is a conical-shaped form constructed of pre-tensioned, thin-shell concrete. The base of the roof, where it meets the ground, features a concrete ring beam that appears to float on a complex and delicate structure of reinforcing bars, allowing a continuous ring of glass to encircle the foundry space. The lower section of the structure, originally housing Nugent’s candle making studio, has a flat roof and is composed of pre-cast concrete sections in-filled with concrete during construction to allow the roof to negotiate the fan-shaped plan-form. Sections of concrete culverts are used for the window openings, illustrating the combination of manufactured elements with crafted elements that characterizes the overall nature of the structure. For its inventive design, the John Nugent Studio received a Massey silver medal in 1967 from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

The heritage value of the John Nugent Studio also resides in its association with the artist John Nugent. His work spans more than 50 years and includes the production of abstract welded metal sculpture, metal castings, religious artifacts, works in silver, and candle-making. Nugent’s work has been exhibited nationally and is included in many important collections, including that of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. The studio was constructed over successive weekends by Mr. Nugent and the architect, Clifford Wiens, with help from fellow artists Kenneth Lochhead and Roy Kiyoka. All were part a flowering of activity in the visual arts in Saskatchewan during the post-Second World War period following the creation of the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, February 18, 2005.

Province of Saskatchewan, Order To Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, May 26, 2005.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the John Nugent Studio resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that illustrate the innovative nature of the architecture, such as the conical foundry roof floating on a lattice of reinforcing bars, the earthbound nature of the foundry with interior dry-laid fieldstones, the use of culvert sections as window openings and the combination of craft and manufactured concrete elements forming the roof of the fan-shaped candle making studio;
-those elements that illustrate the studio’s integration with the landscape, such as the placement of the building on a bench of land overlooking the Qu' Appelle Valley;
-elements that relate to the artistic production of John Nugent, such as the suspended hoist in the foundry section of the studio.




Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 39(1)

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer

Clifford Wiens


John Nugent

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Conservation Branch, Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, 3211 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 5W6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

PHP 2291



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