The Globe and Mail
For four decades, until his death in September 2016, John Bentley Mays was one of Canada’s most insightful and influential observers of architecture.
In addition to the numerous articles that he wrote for Canadian Architect, Azure, and other magazines, he authored a weekly column in the Globe and Mail newspaper on the topic of residential architecture. Mays explored his subject with boundless curiosity, while still imparting to readers – industry leaders and the general public alike – his deep knowledge of architecture along with history, context, and theory.
Mays delighted readers, and inspired writers, with his passion, humour and elegant prose. He painted masterful metaphors such as this summation of a new condominium design, “There will always be a place in the urban wardrobe for well-stitched, sensitively designed ready-to-wear structures such as The High Park. But as the newest batch of mid-rise multifamily dwellings roll out on main streets across the city, we could surely stand to see a dash more haute couture.”
Mays took the role of the critic seriously. Sometimes his criticisms were scathing, but only because he held high standards, and his column kept many accountable.
“He made architecture interesting for the common reader.”
“For his artful skill, creative and deeply influential body of work.”
“He played a pivotal role in promoting good architecture.”
“He possessed very good knowledge, not just of urban architecture, but also its environment.”
“His articles did not focus on just one building, but gave insight into the social, cultural and physical context.”