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Arthur Charles Erickson, CC (June 14, 1924 – May 20, 2009) was a Canadian architect and urban planner. He studied Asian languages at the University of British Columbia, and later earned a degree in architecture from McGill University.[1]

Arthur Charles Erickson
Academic Quadrangle, Simon Fraser University
Born(1924-06-14)June 14, 1924
DiedMay 20, 2009(2009-05-20) (aged 84)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
AwardsAIA Gold Medal (1986)
BuildingsSimon Fraser University campus in British Columbia
Canadian Embassy in Washington
Kuwait Oil Sector Complex in Kuwait City
Kunlun Apartment Hotel Development in Beijing, Suki's Building in Vancouver, British Columbia


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."[2]

Erickson was born in Vancouver, the son of Oscar Erickson and Myrtle Chatterson. He served in the Canadian Army Intelligence Corps during World War II. 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.[3] After teaching, he worked for a few years at Thompson Berwick and Pratt and Partners[4] 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.[5] Erickson was mentor of many other noted local architects and urbanists, including founding members[6] of many of Vancouver's premier design-oriented architectural firms. His buildings were also the subject of painting by famous artists including Vancouver artist Tiko Kerr.[7]

In 1973, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1981.[8] In 1986, he received the AIA Gold Medal. Erickson lived in Point Grey with his life partner and interior design collaborator, Francisco Kripacz.[2]

He died in Vancouver on May 20, 2009.[5]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cook, Maria (2006-08-20). "The architect of soul". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on May 28, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Schelling, Steven. "Arthur Erickson, 1924-2009." Xtra, Friday, May 22, 2009. Archived March 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Hill, Max (2014-06-09). "The Concrete Acropolis". The Peak. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Stouck, David (Sep 6, 2013). Arthur Erickson: An Architect's Life. Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 978-1771000116.
  5. ^ a b Martin, Sandra. "The greatest architect we have ever produced," The Globe and Mail, Friday, May 22, 2009.
  6. ^ "Remembering Canada's Greatest Architect". Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network.
  7. ^ "Near death in 2006, Tiko Kerr has a 15-painting tribute to architect Arthur Erickson in the BC Law Courts".
  8. ^ "Arthur C. Erickson, C.C., B.Arch., D.Eng., F.R.A.I.C." Order of Canada. Governor General of Canada. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  9. ^ "Killam-Massey House". Project description. Arthur Erickson.
  10. ^ a b c Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  11. ^ Champlain Heights Archived 2013-12-09 at the Wayback Machine. vancouverschools125. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  12. ^ "DARTMOUTH WATERFRONT HOUSING, HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA". Project description. Arthur Erickson. Missing or empty |url= (help)

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