Erickson, Arthur Charles
Western Canada Bureau Chief
Vancouver–Arthur Erickson, Canada's most famous architect, whose work included Roy Thomson Hall and Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, died yesterday, his family said in a release. No cause of death was announced.
Erickson, 84, considered himself a "global architect" and mentored some of the leading architects in Canada today. But he was in a class of his own and invoked comparison to Frank Lloyd Wright, a man Erickson considered his mentor.
Erickson's international projects included the Tacoma Glass Museum in Washington state and the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. It was his design of Simon Fraser University in 1963 that cemented his reputation.
His mark remains evident in Vancouver with a new condominium of swirling angles twisting upwards named The Erickson that's under construction in Yaletown.
In a 2000 speech, Erickson said: "Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart, of sensibility and with a freshness of view, which shows us the way and reminds us of our mission to inspire."
tribute to Arthur Erickson (from his web site)
Son of Oscar Ludwig Erickson and Myrtle (Chatterson) Erickson, Arthur followed his own path from an early age, and was encouraged to do so by his unconventional parents. Arthur sought to understand the relationship between human endeavour and the natural world and was influenced by people such as his mother, high school art teacher Ella Faunt, Group of Seven painter Lawren Harris, and University of McGill architect professor Gordon Webber, who thought for themselves and challenged preconceived notions. He never stopped questing and learning, admired high achievement, and loved sharing creative meals and wide-ranging conversation. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s home Taliesin West, Arthur determined that if such passion in form was possible in architecture, then architecture was the profession for him. Arthur was a world citizen who observed how different cultures solved design problems and recognized the influence of climate and site on design. His absolute determination to balance light and form, function and site, culture and environment, led to a remarkable diversity of work that broke technological and design barriers again and again. Unconstrained by habit and convention, Arthur could see beyond the limits.
Arthur was brilliant, charming, urbane and stubborn and inspired great devotion in those around him. In his last year, Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases caught up with Arthur and his health declined quickly, giving out at last on May 20. Arthur loved and recognized his family and friends right until the very end. He is survived by his brother Don Erickson and Don’s children: Christopher; Geoffrey and his daughter Ana Paula Erickson; and Emily and her children Benjamin and Eliza McCullum.