Mid-Century Architecture in Victoria From the University of Victoria Special Collections and University Archives

Di Castri - John A. Achtem House (1959)

3225 Beach Drive

John Di Castri's 1959 house for John A. Achtem is situated on a waterfront lot in John Charles Olmsted's Uplands neighbourhood in Oak Bay [1]. Di Castri's design is heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style. A bungalow, the house is designed in a U-shape around a central courtyard with a small pool. The living room is located in the base of the U and looks out to the water. Wright's influence is evident in the deep eaves, the shallow pitch of the roof, and wrap-around windows. Di Castri's decorative details also evoke Wright. These include cladding in horizontally-laid, red Arizona sandstone, and several vertical wood screens. Today the house remains mostly original. It is one of four Di Castri buildings listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, along with the Trend House, CNIB Building, and Ballantyne Florists Building.

[1]. For more information on Uplands, see Imagining Uplands: John Olmsted's Masterpiece of Residential Design (2016) by Larry McCann, Professor Emeritus of Geography at UVic.

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