Most Unique

by Zbigniew

“Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart.”

Arthur Erickson

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“Selling a property in The Erickson is unlike anything else – Simply put it is the most unique building in Vancouver which deserves and requires the most unique marketing strategy.”

Will McKita, “False Creek Luxury Marketing Specialist”

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There’s a unique form of stress at the conjunction of hard times and judicial matters of the small claims variety: it arises from the prolonged sub-Kafkaesque processes, the endless compilation of forms, the marginal returns –it’s a low grade, low stakes angst.

For the second time that day I took a number. I estimated the likelihood of my being called up in anything less than 45 minutes as remote, and slumped extravagantly into a chunky piece of pre-Expo furniture.

Looking up: sunlight making its way through the glass ceiling and the water flowing above it. Sunny -that’s fucking fantastic.

I sat.

Light was dappling the interior of the big open hall. Vines and leaves draped over the concrete wall of the floor above and I was aware of the sound of rushing water and I was sitting on a rock in Lynn Creek on a warm afternoon.

And I heard my number.

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Graham__House_Plan

Arthur Erickson’s Graham House was on the Municipality of West Vancouver’s heritage inventory; it was destroyed in December 2007.

A seemingly irrational fate for an artifact produced by the native-son Gordon Smith called the artist architect, who worked in wood and concrete on a canvass of geography; Arthur Erickson O.C., the creative force behind the paper-mache pavilion of the UN Habitat Conference on Human Settlements, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, Roy Thomson Hall -he claimed that the 1963 Graham House launched his career.

Irrational, until you consider that at roughly the same time the unique residence of 6999 Isleview was being pulverized Erickson’s name was being used to shill a new condo development on False Creek.

If I ever care to look back on this period of wholesale destruction, the winter of 2007/2008 might serve to mark the point where our hearts and our wallets parted company.

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Arthur Erickson died in 2009.

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Erickson’s home is tiny -a runt compared to the popular twin-peaked post-monsterhouse. It’s a lane way on a property devoid of a house, a shack relegated to a corner of a giant, near wild garden, complete with pond and earth mound. A tall wooden fence provided alternately silent sanctuary and privacy for those swinging ’70s antics.

Spared destruction after Erickson’s 1992 bankruptcy and forced sale, the Arthur Erickson Foundation struggles with his home’s renovation and mortgage payments. Because this is Vancouver, danger looms.

“We are caught in a vice between art and the bottom line,” said Erickson of his practice. A place where the poetic products of the heart have no inherent value. A situation that requires and deserves the most unique of strategies.