25. Bing Thom

Founder, Bing Thom Architects

25--BingThom_`Thomas-BillingsleyAge: 74 | 2011: #31“My client is more than the person who pays me,” the architect Bing Thom once told architecture critic Witold Rybczynski. “My client is society and the public.”Thom is one of those rare architects who lives his idealism. And he does so on both sides of the Pacific. Born in Hong Kong, educated at UBC and Berkeley, he worked with Fumihiko Maki and Arthur Erickson before striking out on his own in Vancouver.He’s established the kind of eclectic practice that sees him shortlisted to design the Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario (could there be a more definitively Canadian project?), while at the same time landing the prestigious Xiqu Centre, a $347-million sanctuary dedicated to traditional Chinese opera in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. To say nothing of his acclaimed redesign of Surrey Centre, or the many buildings he’s designed in Vancouver. But it’s not his buildings that get mentioned first in conversations about Bing Thom. It’s his contribution to the communities where he builds them.

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