British Columbia

Eppich House II: Arthur Erickson's unique collaboration

Even for an architect whose wide range includes the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, the MacMillan Bloedel building in downtown Vancouver, and Simon Fraser University, Eppich House II — which is now up for sale — stands out for several reasons.

Vancouver architect called the Eppich family 'dream clients'

Eppich House II's curved, waterfall elements go down through three storeys. (Geoffrey Erickson)

Even for an architect whose wide range includes the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, the MacMillan Bloedel building in downtown Vancouver, and Simon Fraser University, Eppich House II — which is now up for sale — stands out for several reasons.

Eppich family

Twins Hugo and Helmut Eppich were born in a German-speaking community in Yugoslavia, but they founded a steel manufacturing company in the Vancouver area.

"They were convinced that Arthur Erickson was the one and only architect that they could hire to design their new homes for them … because their brother Egon … came to Vancouver and was totally knocked out by Arthur Erickson's work, especially Simon Fraser University," Greg Bellerby told Gloria Macarenko, host of Our Vancouver.

Bellerby, author of Eppich House II: The Story of an Arthur Erickson Masterwork, describes the home as a unique collaboration. The late Erickson seldom used steel but, understandably, it's a feature here — not just of the structure, but in the leather furniture inside.

Hugo and Helmut Eppich founded a steel manufacturing company in the Vancouver area. Eppich House II features steel not just as part of the structure, but also in the leather furniture inside. (Roger Brooks)

Watery light of the West Coast

"The house is unique in the sense that it has these curved, kind of waterfall, elements as they go down through the three storeys. And so the furniture also reiterates this curved thing," he said.

Bellerby, a former curator of Emily Carr University of Art + Design's Charles H. Scott Gallery, sees Eppich House II not just as unique work, but a kind of summation of several ideas Erickson had been developing throughout his career.

The architect integrates the landscape, the garden and the water in Eppich House II.

"His projects really reflected the kind of environment we live in. He called it the 'watery light of the West Coast' — filtered through the clouds and the mists," Bellerby said.

Arthur Erickson's "projects really reflected the kind of environment we live in. He called it the 'watery light of the West Coast' — filtered through the clouds and the mists," said Greg Bellerby. (Geoffrey Erickson)

Hope for the future

The house is up for sale, currently listed at $16.8 million. Bellerby hopes the owners don't change it.

"Whether the Eppich House [II] will stay, with the new owners, exactly the way that it is ... I sure hope it does, because it's, as I say, a work of art and something that we should cherish and something we should protect."

"Eppich House II" details the daring design and decoration of the West Vancouver home 6:45

With files from Our Vancouver