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Tuesday, 13 July 2010 15:59

Vancouver's.. Brave New Architecture

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The acting director of UBC's school of architecture, Chris Macdonald, measures his words carefully. Ask him about the quality of contemporary building design in Vancouver, and the tall, blondish academic pauses for nearly half a minute before responding. And even then, his answer is somewhat oblique.

One of the things that's difficult for many contemporary architects is Vancouver had a moment of inventive brilliance after the[Second World] war, and in particular through the persona of Arthur Erickson, Macdonald responds during an interview at the Georgia Straight office. So there was this frisson, of a sort, of unprecedented brilliance in architectural design that happened.

Macdonald explains that Erickson's most celebrated projects, including the MacMillan Bloedel Building (1075 West Georgia Street)and the Simon Fraser University campus on Burnaby Mountain, were built in a different era. In the 1960s, strong-willed clients ofErickson's, such as timber baron H.R. MacMillan and former SFU chancellor Gordon Shrum, could focus on a design effort without facing interference from government panels demanding changes to the design to suit their tastes.

This city's history…had these emphatic moments of real accomplishment that could be measured against anything that was happening anywhere in the world, and certainly in North America, Macdonald says. Read The Full Story. Share &/or Comment ►

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