Born in Bridgeport, Ontario, Canada. He outlined his career in a letter to McMahon Davis (Canada) in 1911. Until then he had been employed as an assistant by architect J Knechtal of Berlin (now Kitchener, Canada) in 1886. Stayed two seasons then went to Australia to work in construction until 1893. He did not practice but continued to study architecture. He then went to Africa in 1893 where he started practice in Durban in 1902 until 1905 a principal. He returned to Canada in 1908' (LRIBA nom papers 1911). Nothing is yet established as to where he worked from the time of his arrival in South Africa in 1893, until he opened practice in Durban in 1902. It is likely he was working in Durban, which would help explain the discrepancy between the date he said he commenced practice in Durban (1902) and the date of the building he designed in Currie Road in Durban (1900). Returning to Canada in 1908 he worked in association with CG Cowan, his brother, an architect working in Berlin (now Kitchener), Canada. The practice was varied, dealing with domestic architecture, factory buildings, schools and churches. Cowan died in Kitchener on 11 June 1926 (obit. Waterloo Chronicle, 17 June 1926; R.I.B.A., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, 2001, i, 447)
Was possibly the COWAN in the firm COWAN & MATHER whose name appears on the foundation stone of the Fouriesburg Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk.
(LRIBA nom papers (1911) 619; UNSAL).
All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.
Books citing COWAN
|Hillebrand, Melanie. 1975. Aspects of architecture in Natal, 1880 1914. Pietermaritzburg: Unpublished MA. Dept Fine Art and History of Art, University of Natal. pp 165|