History of Benjamin Bryce Levinson Architecture Inc.
Ben Levinson, retired architect, MRAIC
Over 40 Years Commitment To British Columbia
Lifetime Member, Architectural Institute of British Columbia
Life Member, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Mr. Levinson retired December 31, 2011.

Small Town Architect - Preface - Benjamin Bryce Levinson

A dear friend has asked me, "Why on earth do you believe that anyone is going to read this book about a not-so-famous architect?" I know that very few young people have actually read The Fountainhead or even the book about the life of architect Louis Isadore Kahn. So this question prompted me to ask myself, "Why would I attempt to be presumptuous enough to set myself out to be criticised, or have my autobiography left gathering dust on the shelf?" My answer is that perhaps there is one budding architect who can gain from my experience and see how and why I learned to be an architect. He or she may even understand what an architect does or is capable of doing.

I never presumed to be great. I always did the best I could, enjoying all the good events of my life while concerning myself with the challenges. Along the way I have met many famous and important client friends like Murray and Frances Adaskin, Ted and Nicky Harrison, Don and Isabelle Wolcott, Dick and Shirley Reid as well as a multitude of small-town close friends. I've learned from each about life, morality, humour, respect and pride. My employers, clients, professional associates, architect colleagues, engineers, consultants, artist friends, secretaries, clerks and gardeners have all had an impact on my professional outlook. The contractors, sub contractors and suppliers I worked with often impressed me. I have learned that the more one succeeds, the greater the chance of jealousies from colleagues. The more one pioneers, the greater the chance of failure. The more chances one takes, the greater likelihood of opposition or conflict. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton).

Along my career path I have fallen in love with my wife, Carla. Together we have enjoyed a privileged life due to hard work, wise decisions, and a bit of good fortune. My attempt at documenting my life between 1942 (World War II) and 2012 may be of some help to those who wish to use it as a learning tool, especially for those starting their architectural career today. Hopefully these writings will encourage readers to understand the impact that even a 'small-town architect' can have on the world. How can an architect influence the built environment and impact the lives of those viewing and using the buildings and spaces designed?

As I approached retirement I felt that I had an interesting story to tell, a story that would set out historical facts about my five decades involved with architecture and about my practice in small towns. My story tells of the diversity of projects of one architect and his contribution to society. The story is not remarkable but it tells of common events in which every small town architect participates. Hopefully someone will read it, enjoy it, and learn from it.

Hiring an architect to design your lesser or simple building in your small town can be an inspiration to you. It can also be an inspiration to all those around you who strive for beauty, function and a better quality of life. This book shows my many different designs from many small towns. I have amalgamated my designs into a single 'small town' plan to show the possibility of total impact and how one 'small town architect' can make an impression on the built environment. You too could become part of the small town design process by hiring a 'small town architect', working with one, or becoming one. History repeats itself. Although the experiences documented in this collection of my projects took place at a specific time and at an exact location, a young architect starting out today in any place in this incredible shrinking world will be able to take the lessons put forward in this autobiography and apply them to his/her own practice. There is hope for a better life in small towns wherever they are. There is hope for the 'small town architect', whoever he or she is.

Who would be interested in this book?

Sean Ruthen's book review

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