This year, Lethbridge celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Pacific Railway High Level Bridge – a landmark that has inspired many, including University of Lethbridge architect Dr. Arthur Erickson.
“The coulees offered extraordinary opportunities: dramatic heights and depths unusual in the prairies, and the possibility of outlook, proximity to the river and a microclimate milder than the windswept flatlands. Standing there on the far edge of the coulee I saw etched against the sky the light tracery of an old iron railway bridge, 300 feet in the air, spanning a mile across the river. I came to the conclusion that though any building upon the exposed flatland should be interred in earth berms so that they would become part of the land, the academic building could span the coulees and, like the old bridge in its rigid flatness, reveal the rich contours of even the most level prairie. It seemed to me that the top storey of the university should lie below the tableland in an uncompromising straight line spanning the haunches of the prairie.”
Dr. Arthur Erickson
The Architecture of Arthur Erickson
With text by the architect
Tundra Books, 1975