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  • 23 Sep 2021 8:00 PM | William McLean (Administrator)

    Designed by Arthur Erickson with Geoffrey Massey, the 27-storey MacMillan Bloedel headquarters opened at 1075 West Georgia St. in downtown Vancouver in December, 1968.

    Colloquially known as The MacBlo even after its namesake tenants had long departed, the iconic cast concrete tower has been renamed Arthur Erickson Place by its current owners, in a ceremony which took place on September 23, 2021. AEF's President was among those invited to address the gathering:

    Phil Boname: It is indeed a pleasure and an honour to be asked to speak this evening on behalf of the Arthur Erickson Foundation.

    Vancouver, at least by its size, is the youngest city in North America. Its immaturity is notable in its difficulty, unlike more mature cities, to recognize, honour, and celebrate individuals who by virtue of their “genius-ness”, have seen their homes, offices, and the like converted to museums, shrines, gardens, all of great public importance. Tonight, we are witnesses to a monumental exception—the honouring of not only Canada’s most renowned architect but also one of his most iconic works.

    We are indebted to the new owners of 1075 West Georgia, Crestpoint Real Estate Investments, KingSett Capital, and Reliance Properties, for recognizing the indisputable “genius-ness” of Arthur Erickson and one of his most valued accomplishments.

    Speaking of 1075 West Georgia, in the early 1980s, my offices were on the 14th floor of the building directly across Georgia Street—directly facing this extraordinary edifice. I was virtually in the “royal box” with my exterior views being dominated by this extraordinary concrete tower with constantly changing theatrical sets—a play of light and shadows—a truly “moveable feast”. The view of this outstanding tower with each of its square stages (precipitated by deeply recessed windows) resulted in a constantly changing “geometric symphony”. 

    When we are asked—will we see the likes of this again—we are reminded of the words of the medieval French poet, François Villon—
    Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?” Well, I am an optimist—and I believe that Vancouver will continue, thanks to Arthur’s important legacies, to yield artistic “snowflakes” of outstanding building design in an ever improving urban design context. Arthur’s aesthetic influences resonate to this day, and as a consequence, we are a richer society.

    It is quite natural that in thinking of Arthur Erickson, we are immersed in his extensive portfolio of over 700 commissions. We often do this at the expense of forgetting who Arthur was and what an outstanding individual he represented. For those of us who had the privilege of knowing and working with Arthur, it is also appropriate to remember him for who he was—a man of great intellect; possessed with an enormous range of talents; imbued with transformational influences; a great mentor but most importantly a man who was truly inspirational. His mentorship knew no boundaries and in doing so, he exhibited interminable patience. He had a marvelous sense of humour and lived life to its fullest and with a unique passion and grace. In his time, Arthur was by far, the most transcendentalist architect existent … He more than anyone else celebrated humanism and the influence of nature in his extensive canon of work. His inspirations continue to be exercised by many of his disciples many of whom are present with us this evening.

    On behalf of the Arthur Erickson Foundation, its Directors, Patrons, and members, and in particular, its Stewardship Council, led by its Chair, Phyllis Lambert, we commend the new owners of 1075 West Georgia in renaming this truly outstanding edifice as Arthur Erickson Place. We also thank them for their undertaking to initiate a comprehensive restoration of this complex, a truly valued contribution to this part of Vancouver’s downtown. Our thanks to the owners and the Erickson Family for organizing this very special celebration of a great building and its outstanding composer.

  • 29 Jul 2021 11:51 AM | William McLean (Administrator)

    After correspondence and clearance from CRA's Charities Directorate in Ottawa and the Registrar of Societies in Victoria, the Arthur Erickson foundation has a completely updated Constitutional statement of purposes emphasizing celebration of Arthur's design ideas, the stewardship of his works (including the Erickson House and Garden), and the development of scholarships in Arthur's name. The revision followed an overwhelming vote of support for the change by AEF members attending the 2021 Annual General Meeting held July 15.

    Read the full text of AEF's new Constitution >>

  • 7 May 2021 3:48 PM | William McLean (Administrator)

    In her May 7, 2021 article in Metropolis, journalist Hadani Ditmars writes that "Now, some 40 years later, Erickson’s original vision of pedestrianizing the Robson Street entrance of the VAG and joining it to the larger complex has been realized ..."

  • 27 Jan 2021 12:20 PM | William McLean (Administrator)

    A film produced by Bianca Barnes in 1980 in which she examines the construction and opening of UBC's Museum of Anthropology. The film features interviews with architect Arthur Erickson and carver Bill Reid. The footage includes construction shots, the moving of the totem poles and the opening of the Museum.
    View the film >>

  • 2 Dec 2020 9:24 AM | William McLean (Administrator)

    Reported by John Mackie in the Vancouver Sun (December 2, 2020): "As Arthur Erickson’s architectural partner in the 1960s and early ’70s, he helped design local icons like Simon Fraser University and the MacMillan Bloedel Building ..."
    Read more >> 

  • 26 Nov 2020 4:44 PM | William McLean (Administrator)

    As part of its belief in and commitment to supporting emerging architecture practitioners, today the Arthur Erickson Foundation and the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation announced a $110,000 donation to Indspire – Canada’s national, award-winning Indigenous registered charity – in support of Indigenous youth in Canada. The donation will fund an awards program focused on increasing Indigenous student success by growing the number of Indigenous architects and landscape architects in Canada.

    The Arthur Erickson Foundation was founded as the Arthur Erickson House and Garden Foundation in 1993, and later became the owner of the Erickson property at 4195 West 14th Avenue in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Following Arthur Erickson’s death in May 2009, the Arthur Erickson Foundation expanded its mandate to include education, research and preservation.

    Central to Arthur Erickson’s work as an architect and theorist was his belief in and commitment to education and research. Having served on the faculties of architecture at the University of Oregon and the University of British Columbia, Erickson understood the need of each generation to contribute to the training of the next. One of the ways the foundation honours Erickson’s belief is by working with donors to develop prizes and scholarships intended to reward and assist students studying architecture and landscape architecture.

    “The Arthur Erickson Foundation and Yosef Wosk Family Foundation, along with Indspire, are pleased to announce the establishment of an awards program supporting Indigenous education in architecture and landscape architecture,” said Michael Prokopow, Vice President (East) Arthur Erickson Foundation. “The organizations recognize the profound importance of the shared work of decolonization and reconciliation in Canada for the transformation of society. These awards recognize the deep power of Indigenous thinking and wisdom around the making of habitation and space for wellbeing across generations and the vitally important stewardship of the natural world.”

    Mike DeGagné, President and CEO of Indspire, stated, “This new investment is a significant step in supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis architecture and landscape architecture students to achieve their potential through education and training. They can in turn enrich their communities and create positive change in Canada. We are grateful for the support of the Arthur Erickson Foundation and the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation for investing in Indigenous achievement and education.”

  • 8 Oct 2020 8:30 PM | William McLean (Administrator)

    As reported by Kenneth Chan in the Daily Hive (October 8, 2020): "Thom and his namesake firm designed an architectural concept that adds a world-class art museum underneath Robson Square, demarcated by a new glass-enclosed atrium grand entrance on the west side of the plaza at street level — near the southwest corner of the intersection of Robson Street and Hornby Street ..."

  • 23 Mar 2020 3:43 PM | William McLean (Administrator)

    Over the past decades, the Erickson Garden pond has gradually become shallower as silt and organic material accumulated. One adverse effect of the shallower water was a relative increase in temperature, making it less hospitable as a frog habitat. A full restoration of the pond will come eventually, but in the meantime, remediation was called for. Neill Cumberbirch, member of AEF's House & Garden Committee, reports: "It took five days of digging and wheelbarrowing of material from the pond to the bins located outside the gate on the boulevard. There was 3 to 4 inches of fine silt on top of 8 inches of matted root material, leaves and astonishingly well preserved pine needles and below that the original membrane. We removed material down to the membrane being careful not to damage it. The total water depth is now at its original 18”. Before we started it was 6” ... We left approximately 20% of the original root mass in the pond for regeneration of the waterlilies and irises."

    The photos show conditions before, during, and immediately after this remediation, which took place in Spring 2020.

  • 1 Aug 2019 10:36 AM | William McLean (Administrator)

    The chair of the Arthur Erickson Foundation council, Phyllis Lambert, has written to Simon Fraser University president Andrew Petter and campus planning and development director Ian Abercrombie, demanding the school halt demolition and assess Madge Hogarth House for heritage value. An Erickson/Massey work, the Women's Residence (as it was then known) was one of the great original campus buildings of 1965.

  • 17 Mar 2019 10:18 AM | William McLean (Administrator)

    Reviewer Alex Bozikovic, writing in The March 15, 2019 edition of The Globe & Mail about Greg Bellerby's new book, "Eppich House II: The Story of an Arthur Erickson Masterwork": "It aligns Erickson with this moment in architecture ... He is ripe for discovery by a new generation ...".

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Photo credit: Erickson Estate Collection