Ernest Cormier (1885–1980) dominated Canadian architecture between the two world wars. Spanning a crucial stage of modernization and urbanization for Montreal, Quebec, and Canada, his built works negotiate the local and global aspirations of a bilingual metropolis, an ethnolinguistic nation, and an interprovincial confederation.

Cormier trained as a civil engineer before studying architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Throughout his career, he styled himself as “architect and engineer-constructor,” a form of professional self-presentation that he derived from his idol Auguste Perret. The art deco moderne sensibility that Cormier acquired in Paris resonated with Montreal’s growing Francophone bourgeoisie. Among his most important works are the Montreal Courthouse Annex (1920–26), the Main Pavilion of the Université de Montréal (1924–43), the Supreme Court of Canada (1935–50), and the monumental doors for the United Nations General Assembly Building in New York (1947). Just as Cormier created public images for bodies of collective...

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