A prayer service will be held Sunday for Arthur Erickson, who died last week, at one of the architect's oft-overlooked buildings. Erickson designed the Ross Street Temple, the first of its kind in North America when completed in 1969, which incorporates elements of traditional Sikh construction with Erickson's own impressions of solutions to local needs. The architect came calling with his vast knowledge of design, gained by globetrotting, when the local Sikh community had outgrown its old temple. Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver president Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal lived in India when Erickson made his trip. "It's surprising," Dhaliwal said. "He was really serious. He wanted to build a special building." Erickson described the building as, "simple, symmetrical and contained behind a walled space. I discovered later to my delight that the plan of a series of diminishing rectangular prisms, each shifting 45 degrees on axis, was typical of roof construction in northern India, where shorter available timber could span only across corners." At the top rests a dome visible from the outside from kilometres away. "His contributions, not only to the Sikh community, but all the communities of Vancouver and British Columbia have been large," Dhaliwal said. Members of the Arthur Erickson Conservancy and his family have been invited to attend the event. BIOGRAPHY Arthur Charles Erickson "Global architect, Arthur Charles Erickson is a passionate advocate of cultural awareness, and a fervent explorer of human and natural environments. His buildings, though remarkably diverse, share deep respect for the context, incomparable freshness and grace, and the dramatic use of space and light. He has brought to his work an understanding of the community of man that, when filtered through his insightful mind and fertile imagination, gives birth to a singular architecture that is in dialogue with the world."* A Vancouver, B.C. native, Erickson studied at the University of British Columbia and later at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Advanced studies brought Erickson to Greece, Italy, the Middle East and Japan, where he discovered the nuances of architectural style in climate and terrain. In 1963, Erickson reached a landmark moment in his career when he and Geoffrey Massey together won a competition to design Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Upon the University's completion, Erickson Massey's integrative design gained international acclaim, opening the gateway to a long and distinguished career. As both architect and professor, Erickson contributed much to the architectural community. His works include The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, the Provincial Law Courts in Downtown Vancouver, the San Diego Convention Center, Napp Laboratories in Cambridge, England, the Canadian Chancery in Washington, D.C., California Plaza in Los Angeles, and most recently the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. Erickson's noteworthy contributions and innovative design work earned him the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects in 1986. The highest honor bestowed by the AIA, Erickson was the first Canadian to receive the reward. Prefacing this honor, Erickson received numerous awards and degrees, including gold medals from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1984 and the French Académie d'Architecture in 1986. Erickson opened his practice in 1963, resigned as a registered architect in October 2005, and is currently the design consultant and principal of Arthur Erickson Corporation in Vancouver. * taken from Arthur Erickson's 1986 AIA Gold Medal Citation.