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Architect Ruh’s reputation has grown with time

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In his lifetime, Father Philip Ruh, the self-taught builder of so many Ukraininan Catholic churches in Manitoba, got little respect from the architectural community.

But David Butterfield, who has written extensively on Manitoba buildings and builders, thinks the Winnipeg architects of the day were wrong about Ruh.

"If these high society architects like Russell (of Presbyterian churches), who’s buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, could see the attention given to Ruh’s grave today, how venerated he is, they would be envious," he said.

"The thing about Ruh is he was working through design problems and issues and trying to change things. He wasn’t just a hack. He wasn’t just putting up the same thing all the time. He was stretching himself and trying to find new ways to build. There’s no denying he was a serious and creative designer," Butterfield said.

"(Winnipeg architects) might not have liked people claiming Ruh was important but he was. Those buildings still stand today, people love them, and rightfully so, and they are so emotional, the colours, the various features—emotional in that the building can cause you to feel emotional. There’s no getting away from that."

History

Updated on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 1:56 PM CST: Corrects publication date.

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