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

Di Castri - Robin J. Dunsmuir House (1954)

2979 Sea View Road

Robin James Dunsmuir (9 November 1912 - 28 May 1990) was a fourth-generation member of Vancouver Island's dynastic coal-mining family, the Dunsmuirs. He was the son of Robert William (1877–1929), grandson of James (1851-1920), and great-grandson of Robert (1825-1889). Di Castri's commission for Robin James Dunsmuir forms part of a line of architectural monuments ordered by Dunsmuirs. These include Craigdarroch Castle for Robert (Warren Heywood Williams, 1890), Burleith for James (John Teague, 1891, destroyed by fire in 1931), and Hatley Park for James (Samuel Maclure, 1909).

The Robin Dunsmuir House, also know as the "Sea Shell House," demonstrates most clearly the influence of Bruce Goff's organic style on John Di Castri. It should be seen in conjunction with Di Castri's other organic house of the period, the "Honeycomb House" for Dr. John Hunt (5155 Cordova Bay Road, 1954). The house is perched dramatically on a rocky outcropping at Ten-Mile Point and looks southeast towards the Chatham Islands. The Dunsmuir House stands today, albeit with significant alterations.

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