MacMillan Bloedel Building

Mid-century brutalist buildings

Designed in 1965 by noted architect Arthur Erickson (along with Geoffrey Massey) for the Canadian forestry company of the building’s namesake, the two offset 27-story towers that comprise the “MacBlo” building (as it’s known to locals) was a landmark of minimalist modernism at the time it went up in 1968.

The towers’ primary building material is cast-in-place reinforced concrete with a clean facade that tapers vertically upwards like a majestic west coast Douglas fir tree from its plaza and reflecting pool below. All inspired, apparently, by the nature paintings of Emily Carr.

While some folks might think the MacMillan Bloedel building resembles a giant “waffle” rather than rain forest timber, there’s no arguing its Brutalist simplicity.

The Massey Medal for Architecture was awarded to Erickson in 1970 for this project, and the MacBlo building went on to earn a spot on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

By the way, the building’s jarringly out-of-place glass entry awning? It was added later and not part of Erickson’s original design.

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