Erickson would have wept for Wakefield


by admin on May 27, 2009

Arthur Erickson,

Canada’s equivalent of a Frank Lloyd Wright

has left the World of Architecture, his work done.
The spirit will linger and we will remember.
He was a true innovator of “high design” in Canada’s dramatic Landscapes.
His Architecture, a confident union of the organic and classicism.
Arthur drafted the map for the rest of us wannabe practitioners.
What else do you do when you encounter a coulee in Southern Alberta?
Well you span it – University of Lethbridge.
What do you do on top of a mountain? You build a temple – Simon Fraser University.

These are only two examples of his prolific and acclaimed career.
My remembrance to Arthur fuels a melancholia which leads me to the newly refurbished “T” junction in Wakefield, where Valley Drive swoops down to the beautiful Gatineau River. Truly an interesting design problem, this first glimpse of the river, the village’s most spectacular feature with commanding views both upstream to the bright red covered bridge and downstream to scenic, seemingly uninhabited vistas, all this, nestled in a paradisal valley.
What would have Arthur done?
This first encounter, a portal to the river, is now barricaded with a much reduced train platform- functioning to minimum standards and the ubiquitous pump house structure which before needed a two-potty shed has now been tidily packaged into a 2′x 3′ box.
A folksy bark stripped pole fence and some benches facing the river, bedecked with sitting people – their backs turned. Welcome to Wakefield.
Oh Arthur . . . God Speed.
Rita Komendant