Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler
Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler, architect (b at Braunsdorf, Germany 11 Jan 1926). He has been one of the most successful Canadian exponents of building technology as a central theme for architectural design, along with Ron Keenberg of IKOY.
Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler, architect (b at Braunsdorf, Germany 11 Jan 1926). He has been one of the most successful Canadian exponents of building technology as a central theme for architectural design, along with Ron Keenberg of IKOY. Trained at the Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany, and the Technische Hochschule, Karlsruhe, Germany, Zeidler immigrated to Canada in 1951. He joined Blackwell and Craig in Peterborough, Ont, which led to the Toronto-based Zeidler Partnership (1975) and then, with Alf Roberts, the Zeidler Roberts Partnership/Architects. Zeidler Roberts has become an international operation, with offices located in Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, Florida; London, England; and Berlin, Germany.
The technological themes displayed by works that established Zeidler's reputation include structural and mechanical services (especially exposed air-handling ducts) and movement and communication systems. McMaster University Health Sciences Centre (1972) combined regular geometric building modules, marked by glazed service and circulation towers, internally exposed steel trusses, ducts and an automated materials delivery system to create a building reminiscent of a child's giant construction set. The display of mechanical efficiency is made more palatable to occupants by colourful interiors, generous greenery and interior courtyards. The bombastic forms of some later projects, such as the Rogers Cantel Office Campus, Toronto, mark a significant departure from the austerity of the earlier works; an uneasy transition from high modernism to more recent architectural fashions.
Other notable works include Ontario Place, Toronto (1967-71), the Eaton Centre, Toronto (1974-81, with Bregman and Hamann), the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, Edmonton (1975-86), the master plan for the $700 million Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco (1980-84), Queen's Quay Terminal, Toronto (1979-83), Canada Place for Expo 86, Vancouver, Media Park, Cologne, Germany (international competition-winning master plan; the first structure, Cinedom, designed by Zeidler Roberts, was completed in 1991) and the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida. Works completed since 1990 include the Hospital for Sick Children and the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and expansion of the Sunnybrook Clinical Services Wing, all in Toronto. All continue the extensive use of dramatic interior atrium space, which was an important early theme of Zeidler's work.
As the list suggests, Zeidler's firm has been successful in attracting many international commissions; it has worked not only in the US, England and Germany, but also in China, Indonesia and Malaysia. International work has continued with the completion of a Heart Centre in Coswig and the Suhl Civic Centre, both in Germany, and the first phases of a large housing subdivision outside Berlin (the latter with former Canadian developer Robert Campeau). Projects that bridge the transition from the 20th to the 21st century include the Columbus Centre for Marine Research & Exploration and the Homer Gudelsky Building for the University of Maryland Medical System.
In 1986 Zeidler was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for his contribution to Canadian architecture and its reputation abroad. In late 1987 he received a Toronto Arts lifetime achievement award.