Smith House II


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SpecificationsSKU: 90690Binding: Hardbound ISBN: 978-1-940743-38-7 Pages: 80pp Publication Date: Publication date pending Size: 8” x 5.5”, Portrait World Rights: Available

Over the course of his distinguished career, architect Arthur Erickson (1924-2009) designed numerous houses, each an exercise in transforming the needs of his clients into tangible form in the context of site and place. Artists Gordon Smith (1919-) and Marion Smith (1918-2009) of Vancouver were the only Erickson clients to commission him to design two homes. The first, in 1955, was a straightforward exercise in post-World War II modernism that represented the transplantation of prevailing North American design thinking to the mountainous rain forests of coastal Vancouver. The second house, in 1966, – Smith House II as it came to be known – likewise situated in a forest but with the added benefit of ocean and island vistas, was simultaneously a deft reworking of the stylistic and spatial culture of the first house and a remarkable, path-breaking study in cultural transposition, interpretation and adaptation. Emphasizing its disavowal of conventional demarcations of space and the movement within and through it, it translated the material and aesthetic sensibilities of 17th century Japanese domestic architecture to the circumstances of mid-20th century North America (and the northerly Pacific coast). The result was a house of great revelation and beauty, one that perfectly suited its owners and the lives they fashioned for themselves.


Michael Prokopow is a cultural historian, curator and educator. He has written widely about material life, art, and aesthetics. He recently co-curated True Nordic an exhibition on the influence of Scandinavia on Canadian design after 1920. He serves on the boards of C Magazine, the Arthur Erickson Foundation, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Craft Ontario. He is a contributing writer to Studio, the Canadian magazine of craft and design. Prokopow is faculty member at OCAD University in Toronto. He holds a PhD from Harvard University.


Douglas Coupland has written thirteen novels published in most languages since 1991. He has written and performed for England’s Royal Shakespeare Company. He is a columnist for The Financial Times of London and frequent contributor to The New York Times, e-fluxDIS, and Vice. In 2000 Coupland amplified his visual art production and has recently had two separate museum retrospectives, Everything is Anything is Anywhere is Everywhere and Bit Rot. Coupland is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Series Editor

Leslie Van Duzer, series editor, is a professor at the University of British Columbia and has taught in over a dozen school internationally. With each new home, a new project. Vancouver’s astronomical land values inspired a series of monographs on endangered modern house; Vienna and Prague engendered two books on the Czech work of Adolf Loos; Zurich begot a monograph on Mies’s early brick villas in Krefeld. In two forthcoming books, time in Tokyo inspired a monograph on Atelier Nishikata, and San Francisco seeded musings on architecture and magic.

Ormsby Review #457 West Coast Modern Home to Roost


Smith House II in The Ormsby Review

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 10 × 8 × 2 in






Publication date

Publication date pending


8” x 5.5”, Portrait

World rights