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Museum of Anthropology
Arthur Erickson, architect, 1971

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Arthur Erickson is British Columbia’s best-known architect. Among the many fine works he has designed in British Columbia and around the globe is the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Erickson was inspired by post-and-beam First Nations architecture and interpreted these designs in concrete.

“In Erickson's mind, one of the most successful aspects of the museum is the way visitors move systematically through the galleries. The ability to bring artifacts from the research collection out of storage, allowing the public to view the full expanse of the museum's collection, was also very important to him. Erickson was very pleased with the way the Native American Indians accepted the museum, or in his words, ‘adopted the museum.’ Tribes hold events at the museum such as potlatches and salmon bakes. The Haida longhouse outside of the museum is sometimes used as a steam house. This was an unforeseen but welcomed use of the museum and for Erickson a major indicator of success.

Overall, Erickson said he strove for a ‘tranquility of space,’ where there is a resolution of forces to bring the building into balance.”

 



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