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North of the Border the Winners Are: Governor General's Medals in Architecture

Twelve projects by Canadian architects are honored.

by ArchNewsNow
May 23, 2002

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Canada Council for the Arts have announced the winners of the Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. Her Excellency the Right Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, will present medals to the architects of the 12 winning projects today, May 23rd, at an awards ceremony.


"Architecture has an important role to play in a country in which Nature is so dominant and our people diverse. Architects help us to find a language of environment appropriate to our lives," says the Governor General.


This year’s recipients will also be honoured at the Celebration of Excellence on June 6 during the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s national Festival of Architecture, June 6-8 in Winnipeg.


The following built projects are being honored this year:


York University Computer Science Building, Toronto

Architects Alliance in joint venture with Busby + Associates Architects


Jury Comments: An intriguing project in a number of significant respects: by the environmental breakthroughs and by the incorporation of refreshing reprises of a number of modernist architectural motifs, while eschewing contemporary clichés.


Relogement du Centre d'archives de Montréal, Montreal

Dan S. Hanganu Architects / Provencher Roy Associés Architectes


Jury Comments: This project shows a sophisticated integration of new and existing construction. Spatially and materially, it achieves a particularly compelling dialectic of old and new.


Richmond City Hall, Richmond, BC

Hotson Bakker / Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects


Jury Comments: This is a most gracious accommodation of all the elements in a complex, public institutional building. Its relaxed and expansive iconography is particularly admirable. The interweaving of different building types (and landscape elements) into a complex whole gives the sense of an urban installation, which is still in tune with its suburban surroundings.


Centennial College, Student Centre, Toronto

Architects Kongats Phillips, now Kongats Architects


Jury Comments: This exhibits an unusually high level of consistency of detailing, from the exterior all the way through to small elements of the interior. The Student Centre reapplies the most commercial of architectural idioms to produce a project that is both true to its setting — the highwayscape of the city — and an almost surreal comment on it.


Agmont América, Montreal

Architectes Lemay et associés


Jury Comments: The Agmont America factory extension exhibits a remarkable skill with respect to context, siting, and material execution. It is tectonically expressive, while manifesting a quiet discretion appropriate to its quotidian functions.


House in Mulmur Hills #1, Dufferin County, ON

Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.


Jury Comments: A remarkable integration of building and landscape, the house nonetheless exhibits no trace of naturalist sentimentality. It also demonstrates a very high level of consistency of detailing.


House on the Nova Scotia Coast #22, Oxner’s Head, NS

Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture + Urban Design


Jury Comments: A remarkable project that manages to respond sensitively to issues of local context at the same time that it makes a bold conceptual statement in contemporary architectural terms.


Strawberry Vale School, Victoria, BC

Patkau Architects Inc.


Jury Comments: A virtuoso piece. A remarkable project that combines acute spatial intensity, a rich tectonic concept spanning from a primary spatial order all the way through to mechanical systems, and an unusually careful integration of the built form with a specific site.


Benny Farm Housing, Phases 2 and 3, Ensemble Benny Farm, Montreal

Saia, Barbarese / Laverdière, Giguêre, architectes


Jury Comments: …distinguished by a highly intelligent site plan that simultaneously acknowledges the significant history of the site as well as the social role of its landscaping. It combines open spaces oriented to the public at large with others oriented primarily to the neighborhood’s residents and does so with unusual skill. Its urbane landscape and its provocative architectural forms both demonstrate an impressive synthesis of social and formal interests.


Le Pavillon du Jardin des Premières Nations, Montreal

saucier + perrotte architectes


Jury Comments: At first, the pavilion seems primarily to succeed as a skilled integration of architecture and landscape. But then, on closer examination, it demonstrates a remarkable integration of architecture and interpretive display as well. All in all, it is a fascinating exhibition of the relationship of industrial to natural elements and of mainstream values to aboriginal ones.


Moorelands Camp Dining Hall, Dorset, ON

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects


Jury Comments: The choice of a simple barn form, inflected by the wonderful natural lighting element down the center of the space, leaves us with the impression of a spiritual space, an impression not out of place in a church-sponsored camp for city children.

Albert Thornbrough Building Addition, College of Physical and Engineering Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

Teeple Architects Inc.


Jury Comments: Brilliantly responds to a difficult infill site condition. It follows through from a strong spatial idea to masterful details. …an exemplary campus intervention that raises the level of quality of all the existing spaces and buildings around it at the same time that it succeeds on its own architectural terms.



The jury was comprised of the following distinguished architects: George Baird, FRAIC (Toronto); Éric Gauthier (Montreal); Donald McKay (Waterloo, ON); Toshiko Mori (New York); and Peter Pran (Seattle).


The Governor General’s Medals in Architecture recognize outstanding achievement in recently built projects by Canadian architects. The program, created by the RAIC, seeks to contribute to the development of the discipline and practice of architecture, and to increase public awareness of architecture as a vital cultural force in Canadian society. These awards are jointly administered with the Canada Council for the Arts, which is responsible for overseeing the adjudication process and contributes to the publication highlighting the medal winners.


The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is a voluntary national association that was established in 1907 as the voice for architecture and its practice in Canada. Representing more than 3,000 architects, the RAIC provides the national framework for the development and recognition of architectural excellence.


The RAIC is grateful to McGraw-Hill Construction for its continued support as sponsor of the RAIC’s awards program for the past three years.


The Canada Council for the Arts, in addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts in Canada, administers and awards over 100 prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, and engineering. Among these are the Killam Prizes, the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prizes, the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, the Prix de Rome in Architecture and the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement.


(click on pictures to enlarge)

Architects Alliance / Busby + Associates Architects: York University Computer Science Building

Dan S. Hanganu Architects / Provencher Roy Associés Architectes: Relogement du Centre d'archives de Montréal

Hotson Bakker / Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects: Richmond City Hall

Architects Kongats Phillips, now Kongats Architects: Centennial College, Student Centre

Architectes Lemay et associés: Agmont América

Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.: House in Mulmur Hills #1

Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture + Urban Design: House on the Nova Scotia Coast #22

Patkau Architects Inc.: Strawberry Vale School

Saia, Barbarese / Laverdière, Giguêre, architectes: Benny Farm Housing, Phases 2 and 3

saucier + perrotte architectes: Le Pavillon du Jardin des Premières Nations

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects: Moorelands Camp Dining Hall

Teeple Architects Inc.: Albert Thornbrough Building Addition, College of Physical and Engineering Science, University of Guelph

© 2002