2003 RAIC Awards of Excellence

Architectural Firm Award

The Architectural Firm Award recognizes a firm that has produced distinctive architecture, provided superior client service, innovations in practice, contributions to architectural education and professional associations, and received recognition from the public. The jury noted, “the profession is richer for having these quality firms producing architecture in Canada,” and that “though the criteria were not easy, Diamond and Schmitt and IKOY balanced out when the numbers were applied.”

Jury: Sol Wassermuhl, FRAIC, Page + Steele Incorporated, Architects, Toronto, Ontario; George Rogers, FRAIC, MacFawn and Rogers Architects Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia; Marc Letellier, FIRAC, Gagnon Letellier Cyr architectes, Qubec, Qubec.

Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated

First established in 1975, the firm has grown to a total of 109, with 86 architectural staff serving an increasingly international client base. Led by partners A.J. Diamond and Donald Schmitt, the office has received over 90 design awards, including six Governor General’s Awards for Architecture; Jack Diamond was the recipient of the 2001 RAIC Gold Medal. The firm’s projects in architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, building conservation and interior design have met with both critical and popular success. A perennial theme in the firm’s work is careful attunement to context and the symbiotic relationship between architecture and the city. Current projects include the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto and the recently completed Foreign Ministry for the State of Israel in Jerusalem (see page 32).

“Diamond and Schmitt have a democratic yet pragmatic approach to the management of the firm.”–Jury

IKOY Architects

Founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1968, IKOY Architects is now based in Ottawa and is under the direction of principal Ron Keenberg, one of four original founding partners. The utilitarian rigour of the firm’s work allies it with European high-tech, clearly distinguishing it from mainstream Canadian practice. IKOY has won international acclaim and numerous design awards, including five Governor General’s Awards for Architecture. As current president of the RAIC, Keenberg is promoting the development of a National Architectural Policy for Canada. Recent major projects include the National Archives of Canada in Gatineau, Quebec (see CA February 1998) and the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Technology Engineering.

“Ron Keenberg is a brilliant designer. His firm has evolved from a firm with four partners to a firm with one principal, which is a different evolution from most architectural firms.”–Jury

Below: the School of Information Technology Engineering, University of Ottawa. Right: the Glass House, Chelsea, Quebec. Bottom: Base Maintenance Facility, Shilo, Manitoba.

The Contract Documentation Award recognizes excellence in the contract documentation of architecture, including clarity in the communication of ideas, precision and originality of documentation, exemplary co-ordination of disciplines and/or the quality of instructions and directions.

Jury: Gerald Shoalts, MRAIC, Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd., Kingston, Ontario; Pierre Gallant, MRAIC, Morrison Hershfield, Vancouver, BC; Robert Goyeche, MRAIC, Rounthwaite, Dick & Hadley Architects, Toronto, Ontario.

Sturgess Architecture

House for Whale Watchers

Canmore, Alberta

This new custom residential project is a “complex design that was clearly communicated,” according to the jury, through the “thorough and accurate” contract documents. Documents were “concise with all conditions explained” for construction and “sound technical resolutions [were employed] with details that work… attention focused on framing drawings was extraordinary.”

Menks Shooner Dagenais/Dupuis LeTourneux architectes

Cit du Multimedia

Montreal, Quebec

The jury concluded that this team of architects “have taken bold design and detail risks and have followed through with high quality detail resolutions.” Further, the documentation was deemed “thoughtful and concise with a consistent level of detail throughout all disciplines.”

Merrick Architecture

Cornett Building Seismic Upgrade

Victoria, British Columbia

Contract documents for this seismic retrofit of an existing campus building at the University of Victoria were considered “innovative, thoughtful and thorough,” and the jury also observed that “[they] were rigorously developed to suit a complex project, especially in the effective use of photography to capture all the required elements of the work.” These documents were considered a product of “extraordinary and thorough resolution.” The material submitted also revealed the architects’ thorough integration of the work of a variety of specialist consultants.

Cohos Evamy Partners

Multi-Campus Learning Facility

Sherwood Park, Alberta

For this new school, the jury described the contract documents as “a model of organization as well as thoroughly clear and comprehensive while demonstrating technical excellence in proven technologies and appropriate use of materials.” The submission included extensive presentation material, such as computer animated sequences allowing the client to fully visualize the design proposal.

Zeidler Carruthers & Associates


Bear Street Project

Banff, Alberta

For this infill commercial development project, the jury noted: “the documents operate at a high level of quality design and detail resolutions for such a complex and varied project,” and that “[they were] clearly thought out with intuitive sequencing and arrangements of information” as well as “demonstrating thorough and sound technical resolutions to construction detailing.” The project also revealed considerable sensitivity to the highly particular context of Banff.

Innovation in Architecture

The Innovation in Architecture Award recognizes excellence in architectural innovation, including the research, development and applied use of new technology; unique adaptation of existing technology; new project delivery methods; new design processes; new details or the development of new methods relating to the construction process. Innovations cover a wider range of architectural endeavours including, but not limited to, Management, Project Delivery, Energy, or Building Envelope. The award is intended to recognize skill and innovation in technology and project delivery rather than the art of architecture.

Jury: Guy Gosselin, M.B.A., P.Eng., National Research Council/Institute for Research in Construction, Ottawa Ontario; Norman Hotson, FRAIC, Hotson Bakker Architects, Vancouver, B.C.; Barry Hobin, PP/FRAIC, Barry J. Hobin & Associates Architects Inc.,Ottawa, Ontario.

John Brown Architect Ltd.

Calgary, Alberta


Housebrand has brought together the traditionally disparate practices of real estate development, residential construction, retail sales, architecture and interior design to better address the needs of the largely neglectted single-family housing market (see CA, October 2002).

The jury calls this new endeavour “branding a new practice model.” It found the Housebrand practice and business model innovative for its comprehensive vertical integration of architecture, development, construction and real estate sales. “Through rigorous research and analysis, [John Brown] has developed and exploited an untapped market niche. His firm’s enterpreneurial methodology and branding of service and product could be effectively applied as a model for other communities, practices and businesses.”

Calling it a “smart skin system,” the jury described the Centre CDP’s exterior wall system as an innovative building envelope design that furthers the development of smart and adaptable exterior building walls. The project demonstrates an “unusually successful integration of architectural and engi
neering innovations in the execution of bioclimatic design, energy systems, lighting, and the use of open corridors to an atrium within a high-rise structure,” jurors noted. “Some of the features of this project have been explored in other buildings but this project has more fully developed these technologies with a higher degree of resolution.”

Prairie Architects Inc.

Mountain Equipment Co-op

Winnipeg, Manitoba

This project is one of a series of Mountain Equipment Co-op retail stores across Canada to embrace a strategy of “green” architecture. This “platinum project,” as the jury called it, is a model of leading edge design for sustainable buildings. “The number and range of innovations and initiatives for this project are impressive. From detail initiatives such as green roofs and composting toilets to a site selection designed as a catalyst for downtown urban renewal, this is a bold and innovative project, and the jury also feel MEC should be recognized for its leadership in green building technology as demonstrated by its commitment to setting a high standard in its new facility.”

Dunlop Architects Inc.

Toronto, Ontario

Dunlop Project Information of Best Practices Database

The jury observed that innovation took place in the management of “fifty years of knowledge.” By creating an adaptable and interactive design information system, the database allows past experience to become knowledge for both designers and clients/ users. “Previous design evolutions for specific facility types can be easily accessed, monitored, customized and shared by team members for design development. The system, furthermore, has the potential to effectively organize the design experience of the past while creatively guiding the design development of the future.” The projects pictured are the Student Centre for the University of Toronto at Scarborough (below) and the atrium at Toronto Western Hospital (right).

Advocate for Architecture

The Advocate for Architecture award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the elevation of architecture in the public realm by means other than the practice of architecture. The award recognizes a long-term commitment to, and support for, the profession of architecture in Canada.

Jury: Brigitte Shim, MRAIC, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Toronto, Ontario; Dan Hanganu, FIRAC, Dan S. Hanganu architectes, Montral, Qubec; Eric Haldenby, MRAIC, University of Waterloo School of Architecture, Waterloo, Ontario.

Larry B. Beasley, Vancouver, British Columbia

Larry Beasley is Co-director of Planning and Director of Current Planning for the City of Vancouver. He studied architecture and holds degrees in geography and political science (B.A.) and planning (M.A.), and is Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia. In addition to the RAIC Advocate for Architecture Award, Mr. Beasley’s work has been recognized with numerous professional awards.

In the words of the nominators, “Mr. Beasley has laboured diligently in the past decades to create an environment for great architecture to occur within an urban context… as Co-director of Planning in Vancouver he has been a tireless advocate for the integration of planning principles and excellence in architecture. The opportunity afforded to the architectural community as a result of his vision and tenacity has resulted in exemplary work which is recognized around the world.”