Merrett, John Campbell

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MERRETT, John Campbell (1909-1998), active in Montreal, Que. and a partner in the firm of Barott, Marshall, Montgomery & Merrett from 1946 onward (see list of works under Ernest Barott). Born in Montreal on 26 August 1909, he studied architecture at McGill University from 1927 until graduating in 1931. During the summer periods in each school year, he worked as an draftsman in the office of Barott & Blackader and assisted with the design of the Bell Canada Building (1928-29), and the Aldred Building (1929-30). He then moved to London, England to take post-graduate studies in Town Planning at the University of London in 1933-34. After returning to Montreal in late 1934, he obtained a position as a staff architect with Canadian National Railways, working under the supervision of John Schofield, Chief Architect with the CNR, until 1942. While there, he made a major contribution to the design of the main concourse at Central Station in Montreal. He also took an interest in residential design, and entered architectural competitions including the 1936 Dominion Housing Act Design Competition. He submitted a remarkably progressive modernist scheme for a single family detached house, but his “Design No. 313” was not among the fourteen finalists. William Ralston of Toronto was declared the winner. The design by Merrett was later published in Dominion Housing Act: Architectural Competition - Low Cost House Designs, 1936, 53, illus.).

Merrett worked in Ottawa during most of WWII, and briefly studied at MIT in Boston before returning to Montreal. In 1944 he moved to New Brunswick and served as Director of Town Planning for the City of Saint John, N.B. and prepared a Master Plan for the development of the city (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxiii, Nov. 1946, 296-98, illus. & descrip.). He returned to Montreal in 1946 and remained active as an architect until his retirement in 1977. During this period, he contributed to the preparation of the Master Plan of Carleton University in Ottawa (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxxiii, April 1956, 132-35, illus.). His collaborators on this commission included John Bland of Montreal, Eric Arthur of Toronto, Hart Massey of Ottawa, and Watson Balharrie, also of Ottawa. Merrett died in Montreal on 3 November 1998 (obit. and port. Gazette [Montreal], 4 Nov. 1998, A4).