Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler's Tension CablesSunday, April 05, 2009
Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler O.C., O.Ont. ( January 11, 1926 in Germany) is a Canadian architect. He studied at the Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany, and the Technische Hochschule, Karlsruhe, Germany. Zeidler immigrated to Canada in 1951 and formed his first partnership with Blackwell and Craig of Peterborough, Ontario. He later went on to create a new firm, Zeidler Roberts Partnership/Architects in Toronto, and offices in Washington, London, Berlin, and West Palm Beach, Florida.
I met up with architect Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler sometime in 1986 when I went to photograph him for Equity Magazine. I was accompanied by editor Harvey Southam who told me, "You will like this man. He will remind you of Vernher von Braun. He is crazy about these tension wires that keep the roof of his new Canada Place up." I remember that lighting the man was a bit of a nightmare but he was pleasant and patient. Since 1986 I think that Zeidler's Canada Place has served us well. The "sails" became one of the symbols of our city. I believe that there is nothing iconic about the new Vancouver Convention Centre billed as the largest waterfront convention centre in Canada.
As I look back (people tell me that this has become an obsession) it seems to me that if one could transport the Vancouver Museum and Planetarium via the Star Treck transporter to the waterfront it would become a Vancouver icon with our sails. The new convention centre with its large green roof will add nothing memorable to our waterfront. They should have contacted Eb Zeidler. He would have come up with something that would have put us on the map. The new convention centre will just cement the idea abroad that we Canadians are boring.