Arthur Erickson was first generation of Canadian Modernist Architect. His role in shaping modern ethos in architecture and planning domain is noteworthy. His practice involved varied kind of scale and types of building, strongly embedded into modernity. In principle his design showed the way that context is given condition and modernity has to be dealt with. It means simply that how modernity has to be appropriated in a given context. Two building that he designed at UBC campus and Downtown Vancouver is a significant example of architecture of the city.
The public building (Law and Court Building) in downtown, Vancouver is an example of how modernity has to be dealt with civic architecture, as very few modernist could dealt with architecture of public scale. The building as series of decks/ podiums cascading down towards the large public plaza almost makes building move away to create perceptually larger space, rather than building occupying the space. The large atrium of the building is covered with large span structure and forms the facade of the building. On one side building defines the street edge while other side it responds to the public plaza. It is one of the few public modern architecture that has some urban clarity.
The museum of anthropology is perhaps finest of all the building that he has designed. It conceptualized system of series of beams at various level on a single spaces to allow skylights, while position of columns to divide the spaces with visual continuity of the space. The U shaped beams are principal morphology of building facade. The entire building appears to have mirrored the landscape and maintaining the human scale.
Both the buildings are finished with stucco plaster from outside while inside is left exposed concrete. The stucco weathers and leaving its traces of time and architecture oscillates between extremities of embededness and futurism.
QUOTES BY ARTHUR ERICKSON
Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.
Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart.
Rationalism is the enemy of art, though necessary as a basis for architecture.
Photographs: copyright of Manoj Parmar Architects