Althouse Building

1137 Western Road, London, ON.

Also known as:  Ontario College of Education (1962-1963)

The Althouse Building is associated with the professionalization of teaching in Ontario from the 1960s onward.  As an outcome of the Royal Commission on Education in Ontario (1950), the government established the Ontario College of Education.  Within its new building in London, adjacent to the University of Western Ontario, the College combined a secondary teacher training institution and the Department of Education for the province.  Shortly thereafter, as an outcome of the Report of the Minister’s Committee on the Training of Secondary School Teachers (1962), the building was renamed the Althouse College of Education (1963).  Activities focused exclusively on teaching and research, through an affiliation with the university.

The building is dedicated to John G. Althouse (1889–1956).  Born in nearby Ailsa Craig, and educated in London and Toronto, Althouse had an exemplary career in teaching and public administration that culminated in his tenure as Chief Director of Education for Ontario.

Respecting the university’s architectural legacy of earlier 19th and 20th century buildings, the design by architects Hicks and Marsh referenced collegiate architecture through the use of courtyards, traditional forms, and materials such as natural stone and copper.  Modern in its planning, spatial qualities, and building technology (including precast concrete), the Althouse Building was a compatible yet distinguishable accompaniment to the nearby university campus, which at the time was characterized mainly by collegiate gothic architecture.

The building contains 26 classrooms, two amphitheatres, an auditorium, a gymnasium and a library.  The library is the visual focus of the Althouse Building, and is characterized by its rotunda form, open interior volume with mezzanine, diffuse light, shallow saucer dome and canopy, exterior gallery, and interplay of traditional and modern materials.

The Althouse Building has similarities with the nearby London Teacher’s College designed for the training of elementary teachers. The building was designed by Peter Dickinson of Page & Steele Architects (1954), and was later named Elborn College.

The Althouse Building survives with considerable integrity.  Now the Althouse Faculty of Education for Western University, the building and its associated landscape have been continuously associated with educational and research activities in the field of education since the building opened.