U of L architect, Erickson, passes away

Dr. Arthur Erickson, a University of Lethbridge Honorary degree recipient (1981) and the award-winning Canadian architect who, with partner Geoffrey Massey, designed the University of Lethbridge campus plan and University Hall in the late 1960s, is dead at age 84.

Erickson passed away surrounded by friends and family on Wednesday. No memorial service is confirmed at this time.

The architect, who had been suffering from Alzheimers, was responsible for a number of Canada's landmark buildings such as Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the Vancouver Law Courts complex, and many other significant structures worldwide, including the Canadian Embassy in Washington, California Plaza in Los Angeles and the Kuwait Oil Sector Complex in Kuwait City.

After studying Asian languages at the University of British Columbia, Erickson earned a degree in architecture from McGill University, Montreal, from which he graduated in 1950. He also worked as an associate professor at the University of British Columbia from 1957 to 1963.

Erickson was the first Canadian to win the prestigious American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1986. In 1973 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and was promoted to Companion in 1981.

The design of University Hall was considered to be quite radical for the time, and was undertaken during a decade of growth and change for The University of Lethbridge. Student enrollment climbed from 650 students in 1967 to more than 1,200 by 1971, creating a need for new and larger facilities and expanded program offerings.

The Aperture sculpture.

In 1972, after three years of construction, Arthur Erickson's uniquely-designed building took over the west side of the river valley on the University's new west side campus.

The nine-level facility provided space for classrooms, laboratories, offices, student services and residence housing. A covered walkway - nicknamed the worm - connected University Hall with the Physical Education and Art Building on the west side of campus.

The new University campus was officially opened at a three-day event in September of 1972. The event included a special convocation and the unveiling of the Aperture - a 20 foot-high concrete art structure sited at the geographical centre of campus.

For more information on Arthur Erickson and his unique contribution to architecture, please visit these websites: