Merrick House is a documentation of one of the jewels of West Coast Modern architecture, a home that, as a young architect, Merrick built by hand on the steep wooded slopes of West Vancouver, BC in the early 1970s. The photographs by Michael Perlmutter bring out the wonders of the architectural space and materiality, and the text by Tony Robins explores Merrick’s influences, the many spatial moves he employed and the changes made over time with successive renovations.
Built in 1955 and fully restored in 2014, House Friedman was designed by internationally-trained architect, Frederic Lasserre, founder of the UBC School of Architecture. Situated near the university, just outside the city of Vancouver limits, the house combines a modernist aesthetic with a distinctively West Coast Modern ethos. Distinguished by its spatial complexity, and by its seamless relationship to the landscape design of Cornelia Oberlander, the house asserts its adherence to global modernism while asserting a local aesthetic that has come to be identified as West Coast Modernism. Architect Lasserre, whose early career was associated with Berthold Lubetkin, and Oberlander, a student of Gropius, together produced an iconic design for modern living featuring an open plan, generous glazing, and a subtle flow between the house and garden. The future of the house was threatened by the exorbitant land values in Vancouver, where the price of property often outweighs architectural value; however, a national effort to save the house was successful, and the house remains as a testimony to those who value modernist architecture’s special place in the West Coast ethos.