Bing Thom was an inspiring individual. He was also an architectural giant with a lower-case ego, a true rarity. It is a testament to his energy and drive that his passing at age 75 was unexpected.
I had the pleasure of working with Bing on the early stages of the Tarrant County College campus in Fort Worth. I spent many days in Vancouver with him learning about the city that he loved so much. Bing told great stories, and I'll always remember the one about the rare vintage wooden sailboat that he discovered and restored, which he piloted alone in the scenic waters surrounding the city. He also claimed to take a daily morning swim in the river by his home in all seasons.
Like most great architects, he was very stubborn, but his demeanor was so pleasant it disarmed most skeptics. I last saw Bing in in 2012 in Washington DC at the AIA National Gala, a black tie affair on the day that I received my Fellowship. Bing hated ties and true to form he was wearing a suit, open-collar. And Bing being Bing, he pulled it off effortlessly and made the other hundreds of formal guests seem over-dressed.
Those of us who knew him and live in Fort Worth will always think of him when enjoying views of the TCC campus from the river or walking through the wonderful plaza. The striking fountain is fitting remembrance of an architect who helped us see our river in a new way.
Here's the story from the Vancouver Sun: