Bing Thom, one of Canada’s most gifted and respected architects, has died. He was 75.
Thom, who founded Bing Thom Architects in Vancouver in 1982, suffered a brain aneurism while on a trip in Hong Kong, where he was born.
His wife Bonnie was at his side when he passed away on the afternoon of October 4.
According to Bonnie, Thom’s life culminated in his homecoming project, the Xiqu Centre theatre, due for completion in 2017.
In a statement, Bonnie shared Thom’s outlook in architecture.
“Bing believed architecture transcends the building, to shine its light onto its whole surroundings,” Bonnie wrote. “He was so happy his architects also pursue this adventure of ‘building beyond buildings’.”
Thom’s company released a statement describing Thom as a “dedicated and artful city-builder whose global reputation was closely tied to Metro Vancouver, a region he cared for deeply and did much to protect and to improve”.
Bing Thom Architecture’s local portfolio include the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Central City Surrey, Sunset Community Centre, Surrey City Centre Library, the Guildford Aquatic Centre, and currently, the Simon Fraser University’s Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering Building, and First Baptist Church Redevelopment.
The statement cited the following honours conferred on its late principal: Order of Canada, the Golden Jubilee Medal, honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University and UBC, the Margolese Prize, an honorary professorship from Tongji University in Shanghai, and the RAIC Gold Medal, the highest honour given to a Canadian architect.
His firm’s work across the world include: the Expo’ 92 Canada Pavilion in Seville, Spain; Arena Stage Theater in Washington DC; Tarrant County College Trinity River East Campus in Fort Worth, Texas; the University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong; the Binhai Cultural District of Tianjin, China; and the Shijiazhuang Performing Arts Center, and Shenyang Kerry Centre in central Shenyang, China.
Thom and his family immigrated to Canada when he was a child. He took up architecture at UBC.
Thom began his career in the offices of Fumihiko Maki and Arthur Erickson.
In a statement, B.C. Premier Christy Clark praised Thom as a " man who combined a passion for innovation and a limitless imagination for the possible with a holistic approach to making the world a better place to live".