In his 40-year partnership with Herbert Moody, it was well known that Robert Moore was the business talent behind the successful practice. While Moody concentrated on the design of their projects, Moore ensured the projects were done properly and on time. As a young draftsman working in the firm, Roy Sellors recalled quaking when Robert Moore prowled the drafting room. He would set sharp deadlines for completion of a page, with no room for negotiation.
Moore was born in Winnipeg December 8, 1909. He received his degree in architecture from the University of Manitoba in 1931 and completed his two years of apprenticeship from 1932 to November 1934 with the firm of Northwood and Chivers in Winnipeg. He registered as an architect with the Manitoba Association of Architects in December 1934.
Robert Moore’s partnership with Herbert Moody began in 1936, during the Depression. These must have been lean years for the young architects, but they managed to build a practice from their offices at 216 Graham Avenue. Moore kept the practice going on his own through the Second World War while his partner served overseas with the Royal Canadian Engineer Corps. He was likely grateful for his committee work with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) during the early war period.
In 1941 Moore was appointed chair of the local planning committee of the RAIC. The Depression years of the 1930s, together with five years of wartime restrictions, had produced an acute housing shortage and a serious need for construction of hospitals, schools and infrastructure. In 1945 the RAIC reported that only 14 per cent of rural homes were equipped with furnaces and seven per cent with baths. Rural electrification was soon to be a considerable factor in rural development. The construction industry at the time was the second largest employer of the Canadian labour force. Architects were poised for a change for the better and took an active role in post-war planning.
During the war, Moore purchased several properties along the north side of Broadway, which he retained until the individual properties were redeveloped in the 1950s and 1960s. One of these properties became the new office of Moody and Moore. Located at 295 Broadway, this low rectangular masonry structure (since remodelled) served as their offices from 1948 until 1984. Never a man to overbuild, Moore saw to it that the office had just enough space to be practical, with the raised basement rented out to mill agents Lewis and Kent for furniture fabrics. In 1951, an addition was made to the rear of the building, and two years later a second floor was added over the entire structure, which illustrated the exponential growth of the firm at the time.
Moore viewed himself as a businessman and maintained a diverse network of board directorships, which was rare for an architect in the earlier period. In 1975, he was a director of James B. Carter Ltd., Sovereign Life Insurance Company, Stovel Advocate Press, Stanford Evans Publishing and Perimeter Aviation. He owned the land upon which Sovereign Life constructed its six-storey head office building in 1956 (designed by Moody and Moore).
When a merger came in 1969 to expand Moody and Moore into the firm of Moody Moore Duncan Rattray Peters Searle Christie, Robert Moore stepped back quickly into consultant status. By the mid 1970s, he divided his time between Quebec City and Florida.
- “Provincial Page” The Journal (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) 18 (March 1941): 52.
- “Report of the Council.” The Journal (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) 22 (March 1945): 43.
- “Offices of Moody and Moore, Architects, Winnipeg.” The Journal (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) 25 (October 1948): 366
- Grover, Sheila. “295 Broadway.” Winnipeg Architecture Foundation Files. 2000.
- The Canadian Who’s Who. Volume 13, 1973-1975. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 728.
- Keshavjee, Serena. ed. Winnipeg Modern. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2006.
- Manitoba Association of Architects. Letter to Robert E. Moore. 19 December 1934.
- Thompson, Bill. Interview with Roy Sellors. 17 May 2002.