October 29, 2003
by Canadian Architect
Bud Wood, a member of the design faculty for 33 years at the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Architecture, passed away on September 25. Mr. Wood, born in Raymond, Alberta, attended Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City before enrolling at the University of Oregon at Eugene. After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1953, he became a partner with Bill Birmingham in the Vancouver firm Birmingham and Wood Architects and Planners. He joined the faculty at UBC in 1962 and, bringing a Socratic dialogue to his teaching style, demanded that colleagues and students engage the urban world with a respect for history as embodied in architecture. He felt it was necessary to overcome boundaries between the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and urban planning. In the projects he designed in his professional practice and for his family, it was apparent that he carried a commitment to place and to humanity that led him to be considered a mentor by many students, who have carried his influence far into their professional lives.
Using the city of Vancouver as a studio workshop, Mr. Wood’s students examined and proposed many alternative visions for the city; he was a major influence in the focus of ideas that resulted in stopping the proposed freeway through Chinatown, for instance, and later renovated the Chinatown streetscape. Studios he conducted variously proposed innovations such as an urban canal connecting the isthmus with False Creek leading to Burrard Inlet, housing on Granville Island that would take advantage of excess structural capacity, and low-rise sustainable communities for the south east sector of False Creek, among others. Mr. Wood led students in studios in Jerusalem, Cairo and Ahmadabad, and his humility, and sense of community, among other admirable qualities, will be greatly missed.