Exhibition explores the “Buddha-like” Daniel Evan White and his distinct west coast architecture


September 5, 2013


Exhibition explores the “Buddha-like” Daniel Evan White and his distinct west coast architecture


I had the impression of being in the presence of a private man, a man who had a Buddha-like quality and who made a house speak the way a Dylan Thomas poem makes a grown man weep or a Lawren Harris clean line painting evokes the grandeur of Canada.”

–Bruce Fraser, in his 2012 eulogy to Daniel Evan White


(VANCOUVER, BC) – While Arthur Erickson, Fred Hollingsworth, and Ron Thom garnered international fame, their contemporary – Vancouver born and raised Daniel Evan White – quietly broke boundaries while raising stunning houses amongst Vancouver’s rugged landscape. His visionary career now comes to life in Play House: The architecture of Daniel Evan White, opening October 16, 2013 at the Museum of Vancouver, giving Vancouverites the first glimpse of one of their most remarkable citizens.

“Dan’s work not so much fits its site as becomes one with it,” explains co-curator Greg Johnson. “His clever architectural innovations allowed his buildings to match their dramatic west coast sites.”

White was little known due to his tendency to avoid publicity, despite continual inquiries from magazines, journals, and scholars, and a loyal roster of customers who had him build for them again and again. His name may not ring instant bells, but chances are you’ll recognize some of the more than 100+ Vancouver residential projects he was involved in, 36 of which are highlighted in Play House.

Play House ventures through Daniel Evan White’s mind, hands, and eyes to explore the creative process that transforms the dream home from desire into reality.  The exhibition includes stories from clients and contractors, a replica of the Máté House built to 1:4 scale, projections, smaller models, 3D computer models, and an area where visitors can get hands on with some of Dan’s favourite geometric shapes.

“Dan was a very quiet, modest man,” explains Martin Lewis, Play House co-curator and former associate of White’s. “Those who worked with Dan saw him as an innovator of design. Some of Dan’s ideas were so unconventional at the time that they must have seemed like sheer folly. But now we see not only that they worked, but that they have withstood the test of time.”

The exhibition refreshes our ideas of the typical house and its functions, with each featured project becoming a commentary on contemporary culture, innovation, risk, and the idea of play. Yet again, the MOV strikes out to introduce Vancouverites to one of their own incredibly talented people.


The Museum of Vancouver is an independent non-profit organization with the mandate to hold a mirror to the city and lead provocative conversations about its past, present, and future.

Media Contact
Amanda McCuaig, Marketing Officer
T: 604.730.5309    C : 604.312.8791
E: amccuaig@museumofvancouver.ca

Thursday, September 5, 2013