VANCOUVER – Bing Thom, a Vancouver-based architect whose work transformed communities around the world, has died at the age of 75.
A statement from his wife Bonnie said Thom was in robust health, but died of a brain aneurysm Tuesday in a hospital in Hong Kong.
A news release from Bing Thom Architects said Thom was one of Canada’s most admired and accomplished architects and a dedicated 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.”
Thom was never afraid to speak his mind, was a mentor to many and shared his passion for creating beautiful spaces, the statement said.
“He saw himself first as a public servant and held a fundamental belief in the transformative power of great architecture to uplift not only the physical, but also the economic and social conditions of a community.”
Bonnie Thom said her husband’s life’s work culminated in the Xiqu theatre in Hong Kong, a modern home for Chinese opera.
Thom was also behind the Central City project with Simon Fraser University that transformed the downtown core in Surrey, B.C.; the Mead Centre for American Theater in Washington, D.C.; and the Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas.
He designed the Expo 92 Canada Pavilion in Seville, Spain; the University of Chicago Centre in Hong Kong; and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of B.C.
Thom was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada as a child. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of B.C. and a master of architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
He started his career in the offices of Arthur Erickson and Fumihiko Maki before launching his own firm, Bing Thom Architects, in 1982.
His wife said Thom believed architecture transcends a building to shine its light onto its surroundings.
“He was so happy his architects also pursue this adventure of ‘building beyond buildings.'”
B.C. Premier Christy Clark issued a statement calling him a man with a passion for innovation and a limitless imagination for the possible.
“His legacy and his positive impact on the world around him will stand the test of time.”