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Concrete Poetry film image; man standing on concrete rooftop

Erickson on Film: Documenting the Designer

Talk + Screening | Concrete Poetry

Image: Concrete Poetry © Erickson Family Collection

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The second program in our centennial celebration of Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson is dedicated to the documentary films that track Erickson’s ever-higher profile, and his sometimes-scandalous career as both an innovative designer and public intellectual. Series curator Trevor Boddy (FRAIC) will show clips of filmic tours of his buildings, and interviews with the architect and his admirers, featuring the triumphs of the opening of SFU, MOA, the Canadian Chancery in Washington, along with his life of constant global travel and difficult double bankruptcies.

Boddy will host a panel with longtime Erickson associate Wyn Bielaska and the writer-director of our feature documentary, Michele Smolkin, whose 54-minute film on Erickson, Concrete Poetry, will have its English-language Vancouver theatrical premiere. The film is the most lyrical and complete assessment to date of Erickson’s ideas and accomplishments in any media, filmed in 2001-2002, just before his decline into dementia, then ultimate death in 2009.

Talk: 3:00 pm

Concrete Poetry screening: 3:45 pm (54 mins)


Presented with



Michelle Smolkin

Country of Origin





In French with English subtitles

100 min

Book Tickets

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Trevor Boddy headshot

Trevor Boddy

Trevor Boddy FRAIC is an architectural critic and historian who started a dialogue with Arthur Erickson when he moved from Alberta to Vancouver to teach at UBC in 1983. Boddy’s writings on cities and buildings have been awarded the “Alberta Book of the Year” prize, the Western Magazine Award for arts writing, and the CICA/UIA prize for best architectural criticism worldwide. His most recent book is “CITY-BUILDER: The Architecture of James K.M. Cheng” (an Erickson alumnus), and he is executive producer of “The Dyde House and Garden” by Sticks and Stones Productions, about a long-forgotten Erickson house west of Edmonton, winner of AMPIA’s 2023 “Best Documentary Prize.” Boddy did some film studies as an undergraduate, working in an editing studio and co-winning an AMPIA award for work on an industrial film.

Michelle Smolkin headshot

Michele Smolkin

Michele Smolkin was born in Paris, where she obtained a degree in architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1983 she moved to Vancouver where she switched careers, starting decades as a producer, director and ultimately manager at Radio-Canada’s local television station, where she produced a feature documentary on Emily Carr shortly before completing “Concrete Poetry” in 2003. Since leaving Radio-Canada, she has published award-winning literary books and was a crucial part of the community group that saved the Broadway Hollywood Theatre.

Wyn Bielaska headshot

Wyn Bielaska

Wyn Bielaska AIBC was a design associate with Erickson for many stints between 1982 and 2008, including work on the Waterfall Building and the Tacoma Glass Museum. He is a graduate of Carleton, working briefly for Ron Thom and Peter Hemingway, then taught design at the University of Washington for fifteen years, before returning to Vancouver.

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