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Eagles to get monument

Three-storey tower to become Brackendale Gallery focal point

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At 36-feet high, the Brackendale Art Gallery’s Eagle Tower Monument is sure to be enjoyed by the birds it celebrates. But before the birds can call it home, it has to be built.

The beam and bracket tower, designed by acclaimed architect Henry Yorke Mann, will be constructed as part of a five-day workshop held at the Brackendale Art Gallery.

Conceived by gallery owner, Thor Froslev, the tower is clearly a labour of love. Currently the monument is a 15-foot square foundation put in place in time for his 70 th birthday in March 2003. Froslev, who has hosted the annual Brackendale Winter Eagle Festival and Count for the past 18 years, is also a fan of Mann’s spiritual inspired architecture.

"I feel very privileged to be working on a Henry Yorke Mann building," says Froslev. He’s also enthusiastic about the workshop, which will teach what he calls "post-Industrial Revolution beam and bracket" construction.

"The guys who are leading the workshop (Steve Ladner and Kirk Stockner) are master builders," Froslev states authoritatively. "And I don’t use that term lightly."

The designer of Vancouver’s Engineers’ Club, Mann is known for his use of natural and indigenous materials. Even in his more mainstream work, such as 1963’s Killarney Community Centre in Vancouver, the design philosophy of the author of Architecture: Part of the God Dance is evident.

"I won’t do an ordinary traditional building. Other people can do that. I want to explore the potential the building has as a work of art," says Mann.

To be able to focus on the creative, Mann says he has to meditate upon the concept before putting pen to paper.

"I have to get in the position to do the work," he says. "I have to get myself quiet and spiritual."

This sentiment is hardly surprising form a man who left architecture in 1969 as part of "back to the land movement," and spent 25 years ranching in the Okanagan before returning to the business in the mid-90s.

Using only the basic materials of glass, steel, concrete and wood, Mann’s designs are deceptively simple, affording clean lines and open structure.

The Eagle Tower will not be an exception to this aesthetic. Dramatic steel hardware will hold the totem-like structure together, comprised of the more than 100 logs. A bold, flying eagle motif will grace the front of the monument. The logs will vary in length from 8 feet to 36 feet.

But prospective workshop participants need not worry about hoisting the mammoth beams. The four 36-foot posts will be put in place a week earlier by Kirk Stockner of Quantum Construction. A fan of Mann’s work, the Eagle Tower will be the third of the architect’s projects that Stockner has worked on.

"His work looks very simple while being very complex," says Stockner. "It’s honest."

The builder says that those considering taking the workshop should not be concerned about their skill level.

"It’s fairly basic what we’re doing," he says, adding: "But you don’t want to have a fear of heights."

The Eagle Tower Monument workshop will be held Aug. 9-14 and is open to a maximum of six participants. The cost of the five-day workshop led by Steve Ladner and Kirk Stockner is $500 and includes lunches. Architect Mann and Froslev will also be on site. To register call The Brackendale Gallery at 604-898-3333.

Example’s of Mann’s work can be viewed on his Web site: www.henryyorkemann.com

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