Christopher Thomas

Old Parliament Building, Ottawa.
Fuller and Jones. 1859-66.

Ph.D. Yale University
Emeritus Associate Professor
Canadian Art and Architecture, Modern Architecture

Fine Arts Building 131

By appointment| Phone 250-721-6301

Areas of Research

  • Modern architectural history, 1750 to the present
  • Western architectural history
  • Canadian art & architectural history
  • Art & architecture of the United States
  • Social & cultural history of Canada and the U.S.
  • Sacred architecture and meaning


  • HA 223: Introduction to Western Architecture
  • HA 292: Selected Themes in History in Art: Architecture: The Mythical and Sacred
  • HA 368B: History of 20th Century Canadian Art
  • HA 387A: European and North American Architecture, 1750 to 1900
  • HA 387B: 20th Century Architecture in Europe and North America
  • HA 392: Special Topics in History in Art: Sacred and Mythical
  • HA 465/554: Adv. Sem. in 19th/21st C Architecture: Architecture: The Architect
  • HA 465/554: Adv. Seminar in 19th/20th Century Architecture:The Sacred and Mythical
  • HA 465/554: Adv. Seminar in 19th/20th Century Architecture: Architecture & Ornament: Art Nouveau to Contemporary Neo-Expressionism
  • HA 501: Colloquium in Theories and Practices

Brief Biography

Born in Ottawa, Chris Thomas has, not surprisingly devoted most of his career to public, especially federal-government architecture and design. After earning a Bachelor’s degree at York University, he pursued advanced work at the University of Toronto (MA) and Yale University (PhD), where his work was supervised by the eminent American architectural historian Vincent Scully. Chris is best known for survey and specialized articles on 19th-early-20th-century architecture in Canada, and its national signification; and, internationally, for his book The Lincoln Memorial and American Life and other studies on the work of the memorial’s architect (Henry Bacon) and the monument’s use in national myth and ritual. These interests overlap themes of theology, the Sacred, and the mystical that have recurred in his work.

Selected Professional Achievements

Andrew Mellon dissertation and postdoctoral fellowships, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship, 1992-4

Two national SSHRC faculty research fellowships, 2000-4 and .2005-11

Selected Publications


The Architecture of the West Building, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC, 1992)

The Lincoln Memorial and American Life (Princeton U. P., 2002)
Inclusion in the anthology Architecture and the Construction of the Canadian Fabric, ed. Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, UBC Press, in final production).


  • HA 465 / 554 — Postwar Modernist Architecture on Southern Vancouver Island (2009)

Follow us: Facebook Twitter youtube