Cecil N Blankstein

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Cecil Nat Blankstein

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Death: June 20, 1989 (80)
Jerusalem, Israel (Heart )
Place of Burial: Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Max Zev "Motel" Blankstein and Lena "Laika" Blankstein
Husband of Claire Sara Blankstein
Father of Max Blankstein and Private
Brother of Eva Dolgin; Evelyn Blankstein; Private and Morley Blankstein
Half brother of Verna Blankstein and Wolfe Blankstein

Occupation: Architect
Managed by: Alon Blankstein
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Cecil N Blankstein

Cecil N Blankstein B. Arch (1929), RAIC (Fellow 1959), MAA, OAA, QAA, SAA (b1908-d1989)

Cecil Blankstein was born in Winnipeg 1908 and graduated in 1929 with a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Manitoba.

Cecil came from a tradition of building and architecture. His grandfather, Meyer Blankstein, was a Stonemason by trade and a Contractor from Odessa, where the family had originated. Cecil’s father Max, trained as an Architect in Odessa Russia continued the family tradition and was likely a Charter Member of the MAA at its’ first founding meeting in 1914, just 10 years after emigrating to Winnipeg. Also following this passage were sister Evelyn (1935) and brother Morley (?).

As a student Cecil worked on the construction of ‘The Bay’ in Winnipeg. Following graduation he worked for DPW (Manitoba) from 1929-31, in anticipation of registration as an architect in Manitoba. During 1931 the firm of Green Blankstein was established and in 1944 it went on to become Green Blankstein Russell &Hamm. From 1942-44 Cecil was an architect attached as a civilian to the Royal Canadian Navy in Annapolis Royal N.S. Cecil retired from GBR Architects in 1973 and remained on as a consultant until 1978.

GBR prided itself early in its infancy on being an interdisciplinary firm – hiring architects, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers; as well as city planners; landscape architects; and interior designers. The firm made a point to hire women graduates from all disciplines as well as those who were physically challenged. Some may have considered them a mini United Nations at the time.

The Bauhaus, and the tenant that influenced Cecil was that: ‘form follows function’ – never in his career did he design anything other than a ‘contemporary’ building. Functional planning was his forte.

Though he never taught in a formal sense, Cecil influenced many generations of graduates from the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture. Some of these include the like of John C. Parkin (Parkin and Associates), Morley Blankstein + Issadore Coop (Number 10 Architectural Group); Moody and Moore Partners (Herb Moody was a partner for a short time around 1934) all of whom worked for GBR during its early era.

The Firm undertook commissions ranging from: housing (Wildwood Park and Windsor Park); theatres; office buildings; shopping centers to hospitals. Some notable projects include: The Winnipeg Concert Hall, Winnipeg Airport, Winnipeg City Hall (Competition Winner), Winnipeg Post Office, Lorne Building in Ottawa (the commission was received as consolation for The National Gallery competition). GBR also designed many buildings on the Campuses of the Universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Brandon, and Lakehead.

Cecil Blankstein was M.A.A. President in 1955. During his tenure he initiated the M.A.A. sponsored Visiting Lecture Series. He was also an associate committee member of the National Research Council.


The Shaarey Zedek Synagogue – 1949

Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Shaarey Zedek Synagogue was built in the South Winnipeg just following the Second World War. The design of the building was considered fresh and innovative; the religious symbolism was carefully reinterpreted in a contemporary idiom. Its strength in massing and orientation, use of the site and the selection of materials, all culminated in an elegant, non-derivative piece of religious architecture (this was the 1st building in Winnipeg to use tyndal stone in this modern pattern).

Polo Park Shopping Center – 1959

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Polo Park Shopping Center was built on the western edge of Winnipeg on the former site of the Polo Park Racetrack. The project was Winnipeg’s first shopping center and was innovative in that it included many commissioned pieces of art and sculpture. The developer in partnership with the City of Winnipeg paid for the Empress Street overpass of Portage Avenue.

French Hill – late 60’s

Jerusalem, Israel

This housing project is a high-density development, consisting of row housing and stacked apartment residences. All components are integrated into the topography of the region. The roof of your neighbour’s apartment was your garden balcony. The project is sited on the approach to Mount Scopus (home of The Hebrew University, which was established outside Jerusalem prior to Israel's Statehood in 1948). The Canada-Israel Development Corporation developed this housing development. As the housing is carved into the Judean Hills the residences offer spectacular views.

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Cecil N Blankstein's Timeline

August 15, 1908
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
- 1925
Age 13
St. John's Technical High School
- 1929
Age 16
Manitoba, Canada
- 1974
Age 21
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
June 20, 1989
Age 80
Jerusalem, Israel
Age 80