Arthur Charles Erickson|
(June 14, 1924 - May 20, 2009) Canada
Architect and urban planner
Arthur Charles Erickson, a Vancouver, B.C. native, was the son of Oscar Erickson and Myrtle Chatterson. He served in the Canadian Army Intelligence Corps during World War II. He studied at the University of British Columbia and later at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Advanced studies brought Erickson to Greece, Italy, the Middle East and Japan, where he discovered the nuances of architectural style in climate and terrain.
After graduating from McGill in 1950, Erickson traveled a few years then taught at the University of Oregon and subsequently the University of British Columbia. After teaching, he worked for a few years at Thompson Berwick and Pratt and Partners before he went on to design houses in partnership with Geoffrey Massey. In 1963, Erickson and Massey submitted the winning design for Simon Fraser University. Erickson was mentor of many other noted local architects and urbanists, including founding members of many of Vancouver's premier design-oriented architectural firms.
In 1963, Erickson reached a landmark moment in his career when he won a competition to design Simon
Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Upon the University's completion, Erickson's integrative
design gained international acclaim, opening the gateway to a long and distinguished career.
Erickson's buildings are often modernist concrete structures designed to respond to the natural conditions of their locations, especially climate. Many buildings, such as the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, are inspired by the post and beam architecture of the Coastal First Nations. Additionally, Erickson is also known for numerous futuristic designs such as the Fresno City Hall and the Biological Sciences Building at the University of California, Irvine.
The personal selection of Arthur Erickson as the architect for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC by then-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was controversial, because Trudeau overruled the objections and choices of the embassy's design committee. Erickson's biographer Nicholas Olsberg described the building as "making fun of the ridiculous terms to which buildings must adhere in Washington... mocking the US and all of its imperial pretensions."
In 1973, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1981. In 1986, he received the AIA Gold Medal. Erickson lived in Point Grey with his life partner and interior design collaborator, Francisco Kripacz.
His buildings, though remarkably diverse, share deep respect for the context, incomparable freshness and grace, and the dramatic use of space and light. He has brought to his work an understanding of the community of man that, when filtered through his insightful mind and fertile imagination, gives birth to a singular architecture that is in dialogue with the world.
Erickson's noteworthy contributions and innovative design work earned him the Gold Medal from the
American Institute of Architects in 1986. The highest honor bestowed by the AIA, Erickson was the first
Canadian to receive the reward. Prefacing this honor, Erickson received numerous awards and degrees,
including gold medals from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1984 and the French Académie d'Architecture in 1986.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia & http://www.arthurerickson.com/