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Grounded in interviews with Erickson and his family, friends and clients, Arthur Erickson is both an intimate portrait of the man and a stirring account of how he made his buildings work. The triumphs of the book are already public knowledge, his built work — the Museum of Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Robson Square, and many more of his works are revealed here in astonishing detail, often described in the voice of the architect himself.

While the story of his turning down a chance to work with Frank Lloyd Wright to travel is known to most, the wonderful episodes of his time at McGill architecture school in Montreal, his time serving overseas during the war, and his well-documented travels throughout Europe and Southeast Asia could be made into a book all on its own.

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Told over the course of twenty chapters, with his most well-known projects featured in six of them — the Filberg House, SFU on Burnaby Mountain, the University of Lethbridge, Robson Square, the Museum of Anthropology, and the Canadian Chancery — the remaining chapters are more biography than architecture lesson. But interspersed throughout remain the numerous other projects that Arthur completed. Before going to architecture school, Arthur, like his father before him, had served in the Canadian forces overseas, except that Arthur went east to India and not to the European arena where his father had gone and tragically lost both his legs below the knees.

In India, Arthur had the opportunity to go to Agra, where he visited the Taj Mahal, the first of many great architectural pilgrimages he was to take over the course of his life. For the war effort, Arthur studied Japanese with the rest of his unit in preparation for a mission for an obscure division of British Intelligence, in which their task was to broadcast demoralizing radio transmissions from inside India to the enemy troops in Japan.


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Following the war, Arthur was accepted into architecture school at McGill, where the curriculum was steeped in the high modernist energy of the time, and where he learned of the work of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Alvar Aalto. Frank Lloyd Wright had in fact been his initial inspiration for becoming an architect.

Binning and Jack Shadbolt, but his father, also a painter, discouraged him pursuing painting as a full-time occupation. Some examples include his first time seeing the Great Pyramids in Giza, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, along with a moonlight visit to the Parthenon, where family friends living in Athens had arranged a night visit for him to the Acropolis.

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And while many of us can recall our first visit to St. A later trip to the East, including stops in Japan and Bali, would round out his architectural erudition abroad. The following chapters of the book represent what are most certainly the triumphs of his early career, the wonderful houses in West Vancouver and its environs for which he would become known, culminating to his plan and execution of the Simon Fraser University, completed with his partner Geoff Massey in The influence of Japanese architecture was already apparent in his work by this time, certainly in his use of concrete as a primary building material, seen at SFU, in his MacMillan Bloedel building, and the University of Lethbridge.

This is an oversight which has now been corrected, becoming a living memorial for Erickson. I want to hail Bateson for finding — creating, really — a literary form that reflects the way that women commonly reason and talk. Bateson unleashes some very powerful ideas in this book. There are flashes of brilliance on every page.

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It cuts right to the marrow of the society we live in. Daley in Hartford Republican, Nov. Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery. Steerforth Press, September ISBN: distributed by Random House Writer and educator Mary Catherine Bateson is best known for the proposal that lives should be looked at as compositions, each one an artistic creation expressing individual responses to the unexpected.

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This collection can be read as a memoir of unfolding curiosity. It brings together essays and occasional pieces, many of them previously unpublished or unknown to readers who know the author only from her books, written in the course of an unconventional career. She responded by refocusing her curiosity — by being willing to learn.


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The connections and echoes between the entries in her book are as intriguing as the contrasts in style and subject matter. The work is grounded in cultural anthropology but shaped by the observation that, in a world of rapid change and encounters with strangers, individuals can no longer depend on following traditionally defined paths. Willing to Learn is arranged thematically.

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The longest section focuses primarily on the contemporary United States and deals with life stages and gender. The most anthropological section deals with belief systems, conflict, and change, especially in the Middle East, and the final section with different ways of knowing. Bateson is a singular thinker whose work enriches lives by bringing fresh, original ideas to subjects that affect all of us.

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Peripheral Visions: Learning Along the Way []. Here [Bateson] turns the beam of her ardent, disciplined mind on the crucial and often misunderstood process of learning. A wise and liberating book…Bateson brings fresh perspectives to concepts of beauty, the self, competition vs. Bateson…takes us on strange journeys that inevitably result in surprising revelations.

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San Francisco Chronicle. Full Circles, Overlapping Lives.


  1. Al vuelo (Spanish Edition).
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  4. Bateson sets out to articulate and analyze the problems and opportunities created by this new reality. She succeeds through a combination of impressive intellect, broad knowledge and genuine sensitivity. Anyone — from parent to policy maker — who needs to know how human beings tick will be richly rewarded by what Bateson has thought through so carefully and presented so elegantly.

    Drawing on the deeply personal and self-revealing stories both of young women just starting out and of women who have lived long, varied lives, she takes us on a stirring journey through the wonder and challenge of life and self in our fast-changing world.