Some of Christopher Pratt's most easily recognisable images are those of clapboard houses and large, dark buildings. Each type of image is an example of architecture, or structures, as a subject. Pratt says that he is "genuinely moved by buildings, by the windows and rooms and shelters made by man. That interest in structure precedes the composition and design." He is interested in buildings, including interiors, in walls as foils for light, in windows and doors and bridges "framing" things. He is interested in the memories and the mysteries of rooms.
Pratt's architectural works are many and varied, and feature both interior and exterior images. Some of the most common exteriors, and perhaps the most recognisable, are his outport houses. Straight, parallel lines, even shadows and solid textures are all common to these images. The houses themselves often overlook the ocean and are most usually plain white houses with subtle colour shadings, as seen in works like Good Friday (1973) and Porch Light (1972). Equally prominent are examples of commercial or institutional architecture, such as Benoit's Cove: Sheds in Winter (1998) and Institution (1973). Pratt says he is "fascinated by the architecture and impersonality of institutions. It may be a love/ hate relationship." For Pratt, architectural subjects represent the order that he looks for in the world around him, which he tries to impose on the subjects in his art.
Like his other works,
the architectural images are rooted in memory. There are many works, such
and Copper Beech: My Aunt's House in the Fall of 1942 (1991), which feature the house
in Bay Roberts that was owned by his aunt. Likewise, there are many which
feature houses or rooms based on places where Pratt has lived or spent
time. For example, Basement with Two Beds: LeMarchant Road (1993) is based
on a room in the apartment on LeMarchant Road in St. John's where Pratt
spent part of his childhood. Grosvenor
Crescent (1954) is
reminiscient of buildings in the neighbourhood where Pratt lived while
in Glasgow. Pratt's memories of these buildings and rooms are used as
the basis for the subjects in the architectural drawings but, like his
other works, are abstracted so that they may be any one of a number of
Institution (1973), for example, is based on the view
through the window of a room that his father once occupied while in hospital.
It is also, however, the view from a room he remembers seeing while staying
in a hospital as a boy. It has become the view to the outside from the
inside of any different institution, not just a hospital.