Canada's pre-eminent and most flamboyant "philosopher-architect," Arthur Erickson, frequently spoke of cement as the marble of our times.

In 1964, he said, "I think one thing that characterizes what we do [in British Columbia]--whether it is architecture, painting or anything else--is a hangover of being pioneers, and that is innovation. We had no traditions, nothing tying us down, no ancient architecture, no tradition of building materials that stopped us from making a fresh and interesting experiment at that time. I think this spirit still exists here to a certain extent."

Born in Vancouver on June, 14, 1924, Arthur Erickson studied at UBC and McGill, began working professionally as an architect in Vancouver in 1953, and became the only Canadian to receive the American Institute of Architecture's gold medal among his many honours. Although he had a jet-set lifestyle and befriended Pierre Trudeau and Elizabeth Taylor, he eventually filed for personal bankruptcy in 1992 before he died at age 84 in 2009. The Arthur Erickson Garden Foundation has preserved his two-acre residence in Point Grey as a heritage site.

The Architecture of Arthur Erickson (Douglas & McIntyre, 1988) examines and celebrates the career of Vancouver's most internationally renowned and notorious architect, up to 1988. Erickson, who designed Simon Fraser University, Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, UBC's Museum of Anthropology and the Robson Square Complex, is also the subject of Edith Iglauer's Seven Stones (Harbour, 1981), excerpts of which appeared in The New Yorker. In 2006, an overview of Erickson's best work was written and edited by Nicholas Olsberg of Arizona for Arthur Erickson: Critical Works (Douglas & McIntyre, 2006), featuring photographs by Ricardo L. Castro of Montreal.

These studies were to be followed by a biography by David Stouck, to be called Arthur Erickson: An Architect's Life (D&M 2012), but publication was suspended after the publishing company was declared insolvent in October of 2012. Stouck hoped the biography could be called The Weight of Heaven: Arthur Erickson, A Life.

[BCBW 2012] "Architecture"