Influential Architects of the 20th Century

Arthur Erickson

arthur erickson

(June 14, 1924 – May 20, 2009)

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Museum of Anthropology at University of British Columbia (1976)


  • Erickson’s works mostly consisted of modern style concrete buildings
  • These buildings were meant to respond well with the natural conditions of their locations & climate
  • His types of work varied from one another, including universities, museums, libraries, etc


lawVancouver Law Courts (1980)


  • Designed Simon Fraser University in 1963
  • Bank of Canada building addition in 1979
  • Was personally selected by Pierre Elliott Trudeau to design the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC



  • “Architecture has to be functional. But it should allow another dimension than what people are usually content to think about. It should open the perspective of the visitor to something they haven’t experienced before. It shouldn’t be ordinary or pedestrian.”
  • Erickson’s goal was to blend his buildings in with their surrounding environment


Erickson’s style of architecture is still inspirational to today’s architects.  The greater majority of his modern style buildings that were made in the 70’s and 80’s would still be considered modern today.  A lot of his buildings are also still in use today, including the Bank of Canada and Simon Fraser University.  The modern feel to his buildings set foot for today’s modern architects, as his themes are still visible in modern architecture.


I. M. Pei


(April 26, 1917)

Born in Canton, China


  • I.M. Pei has a modernist style of architecture
  • He incorporates geometric and modern themes into his designs
  • His most acclaimed works are the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Mass., and The Louvre in Paris, France



The Louvre (1984)


  • Pei is generally referred to as “the master of modern architecture”
  • He won the “Nobel Prize of Architecture”, the Pritzker Prize, in 1983
  • He has won tons of other notable prizes in architecture




Deutsches Historisches Museum Extension (2003)


  • Pei was influenced by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier
  • Bing Crobsy’s films also helped Pei decide that he wanted to study in the U.S. rather than England


Many of today’s buildings show similarities to some of Pei’s works including The Louvre, in Paris.  His buildings still get recognition to his modernist style of architecture, and he is an idol to students of architecture in his field.  He has won almost every award in the field of architecture, therefore making him one of the greatest architects of the modern era.


Frank Lloyd Wright



(June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959)

Born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, USA


  • Designed more than 1000 structures and completed 532 works
  • Designed structures that were in harmony with humanity and their environment, something he called “organic architecture”
  • Structures varied from houses, schools, skyscrapers, museums, etc




Fallingwater (1937)


  • Wright created Fallingwater in 1937, known to be his greatest work of architecture
  • He is widely considered the “greatest American architect of all time”




Taliesin Studio (1911)


  • Created organic architecture, harmony between human habitation and the natural surroundings
  • Sketched “Broadacre City” throughout his life, the philosophy being “factories side by side with farm and home”
  • He believed that facilities and housing could co-exist


Frank Lloyd Wright has left a great impact on today’s architects and their designs.  He is referred to as “the greatest American architects of all time”, and therefore is an inspiration to lots of studying architects today.  His greater works such as Fallingwater have inspired many, attracted 150,000 visitors a year, years after is was built.  He is remembered for incorporating housing with nature and his revolutionized “organic architecture” philosophy.



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