SPOTLIGHT ON Secter
Annual WAG tour highlights cutting-edge architectural firm
IF you’ve always wanted to peek into some of Winnipeg’s finest homes, you’ll have a chance next weekend to go behind the façade and inside five private residences. The Volunteer Associates of the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hosting its 6th Annual Home Tour on Sunday, September 12 with a showcase of contemporary architecture featuring homes in Tuxedo.
The five unique homes on the 2010 tour all feature work by the firm of Lloyd W. Secter, one of Winnipeg’s most prominent contemporary architectural firms. This year’s tour is a break from the traditional format; in the past, the volunteer group has selected various homes in a particular area, such as the very traditional, classic homes that were featured in Tuxedo last year.
“This is the first year we’ve featured one architect,” says event co-chair Kim Chipman. “It is an excellent op- portunity to tie art and architecture together.”
The five featured homes have all been built or renovated by Secter’s architectural firm. All of the houses on the self-guided tour have a very contemporary feel or what Chipman calls “elegant simplicity.”
In 1972, architects Lloyd Secter and his wife Marcia started their design firm and have built a very successful and well-recognized business that is involved in everything from architecture to landscape and interior design as well as sculpture, custom furniture and commercial, retail and restaurant design.
While the individual homeowners will remain anonymous, Chipman says the five participants are really excited to be involved in the tour to showcase their homes and Secter’s work.
“We have just been blown away by the quality of houses,” notes Chipman. “People will be quite excited by what they are seeing.”
The addresses of the five featured homes are only revealed when tickets for the home tour are purchased.
Built in 1969, the oldest home on the tour was renovated in 2007 to unify all of the disparate elements and give the house a more modern and open feel. Another home on the tour was built in 1973 and renovated by Secter in 2009. The current homeowners wanted a new design that would support their modern lifestyle and love of entertaining while allowing them to have their children close by. The design addressed those needs through a complete renovation of the kitchen and master suite.
The other three homes on the tour have all been built by Secter’s firm. The first, built in 1982, has been described as a “design puzzle.” The owners wanted a modern home that would provide maximum sunlight for the interior while ensuring privacy on the flat lot.
The design of another home, built in 1990, was conceived as a simple box to allow the maximum penetration of light from the home’s corner lot position. The main floor of the house is a large, open plan of interconnecting spaces with virtually no wasted space and no doors to define spaces except for the guest bathroom and main floor laundry room.
According to the owner, the organizing principle for the design was that “the structural environment of the house should be a quiet background to the actual living in the home — a neutral backdrop so the actual life in the house is the colour.”
The final home featured on the tour is currently under construction, providing visitors with a glimpse at a work in progress and a first-hand look at modern home design. The design comprises two living wings that form an L-shaped footprint around a backyard pool. The owner wanted an industrial loft-like space in the house, which led to a design that is both minimal and open with the expansive glass loft linking one space to the other.
To take part in the 6th Annual Home Tour, you can purchase a $30 guidebook from the Winnipeg Art Gallery, McNally Robinson Booksellers or The Garden Room. Tickets must be purchased in advance to ensure entrance to the homes. The guidebook provides one admission to each of the five homes, revealing the addresses with a detailed description of each home for a self-guided tour. The homes will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 12.
The annual tour is a fundraising project of the Volunteer Associates of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. All proceeds are directed to the WAG to support future acquisitions, exhibition sponsorship, education programs such as children’s art classes and art scholarships. In 2008, the annual home tour sold out. About 960 people toured through the homes, raising almost $24,000 for the WAG.