2022 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Here are this year’s winners.

Every two years, the prestigious Governor General’s Medals in Architecture recognize and celebrate outstanding design in recently built projects by Canadian architects. The competition, established by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts, continues a tradition initiated by the Massey Medals in 1950. Here are this year’s winners.

60_80 Atlantic Avenue

LOCATION Toronto, Ontario

ARCHITECT BDP Quadrangle

60_80 Atlantic is located in Liberty Village, a neighbourhood in downtown Toronto known for its repurposed industrial-era buildings. Photo Ben Rahn / A-Frame

60 and 80 Atlantic are a pair of linked office buildings that stand in the heart of Toronto’s Liberty Village, a former industrial zone located between the 19th-century Canadian Pacific Railway tracks and the Gardiner Expressway. Comprising the adaptive reuse of a historic building and a contemporary expansion, the project offers sustainable, contemporary workspaces, along with urban connectivity, within a quickly gentrifying historic neighbourhood.

60 Atlantic is an adaptively reused brick-and-beam building. Photo Jeff Howard

In phase one, the 1898 brick building at 60 Atlantic—originally built as a wine warehouse—was repurposed as a three-storey mixed-use building and urban catalyst. Its Corten-steel and glass addition contains a new circulation spine and washrooms, addressing today’s accessibility standards. The glass-wrapped stairway towers transform into illuminated beacons at night. An oversized graphic denotes the historic building’s street address, number 60, a reference to the industrial neighbourhood’s tradition of signage painted on warehouses. A sunken courtyard serves as a patio for the brewpub that resides on the basement level, breathing new life into the neighbourhood.

The interior of new-build 80 Atlantic uses mass timber to evoke the aesthetic of older industrial structures. Photo doublespace photography

The five-storey office building constructed in phase two continues the narrative, with a refined material palette and reimagining of the brick-and-beam typology for the 21st century. Mass timber—primarily glulam and nail-laminated timber (NLT)—is used for the structural framework of 80 Atlantic, creating Canada’s first contemporary mass timber office building outside of British Columbia. Steel and concrete have been integrated into the structure to provide additional strength and fire protection where necessary. The glass curtainwall along the south façade overlooks the courtyard and showcases the exposed mass timber inside.

60_80 Atlantic is located in Liberty Village, a neighbourhood in downtown Toronto known for its repurposed industrial-era buildings. Photo Ben Rahn / A-Frame

80 Atlantic links to 60 Atlantic, creating a three-walled public gathering space for office workers, neighbours and passing pedestrians. Universal accessibility is provided by the sloping plaza between the two structures and the interior ramped entrance corridor at 80 Atlantic, visible through its glass façade. The plaza is framed by walls clad in porcelain tile, Corten steel, and glass curtain wall, establishing visual connections between outdoor communal space and indoor workplaces. Parking and service entrances are sequestered at the rear of the buildings, reinforcing the street front as their public face.

With its two complementary structures forming an architectural diptych, 60_80 Atlantic Avenue enriches and revitalizes the neighbourhood.

:: Jury ::  The jury respected the deft use and juxtaposition of architectural intervention in this project. The integration of existing elements with the addition and adaptation of the required modern spaces highlighted a successful architectural process within the constantly evolving built environments around our cities.

CLIENT Hullmark Developments Ltd. with partner BentallGreenOak on behalf of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada | ARCHITECT TEAM Richard Witt, Michelle Xuereb, Jan Schotte, Wayne McMillan, Kaz Kanani,Will Marenco, Andrew Foote, Derek Towns, Court Sin, Caroline Robbie, Andrea McCann, Julie Sumairski, Kathy Roudsary, Diana Smiciklas | CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT (80 ATLANTIC) Eastern Construction Company Ltd. | CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT (60 ATLANTIC) First Gulf | STRUCTURAL Read Jones Christoffersen | MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL (80 ATLANTIC) Smith + Andersen | MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL (60 ATLANTIC) Integral Group | HERITAGE Philip Goldsmith Architect | LANDSCAPE Vertechs Design Inc. | ENVELOPE RDH Building Science Inc.- | SUSTAINABILITY RWDI | BUDGET $38 M | OCCUPANCY June 2020

 

The Brearley School

LOCATION New York City, New York

ARCHITECT KPMB Architects

PHOTOS Nic Lehoux

The design evolves the masonry tradition of the original Brearley School with different sizes of windows and a playful geometry.

How can design create a platform for asserting the intellectual and physical presence of the girl in our society—and her potential to transform the world?

Brearley’s mission combines outstanding academics with a higher purpose to nurture the intellect and character of young girls, preparing them to be leaders and innovators of social transformation. The design of its first new building in over a century began in 2014, and was well-timed with the rise of young women’s voices: that same year, Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize and Emma Watson addressed the United Nations on gender equality.

The first two levels act as a community hub.

The original 1929 School building stands on the bank of the Hudson River in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The 12-story masonry fabric building blends in with the residential neighbourhood, but its program is invisible to the street. By 2014, the facilities were outdated, space was at capacity, and there was no room for expansion. The strategy was to expand by adding a new, free-standing building just one block west. The design creates a ‘gateway’ into the expanded Brearley campus and is extroverted compared to the original school. The masonry façade features bold geometry, and the transparent two-storey street base improves safety and street animation in the neighbourhood.

Transparency at the lower levels contributes to street animation.

The design objective was to unlock the power and potential of the Brearley program and community with a flexible, interconnected, light-filled, multi-purpose learning landscape. The plan organizes the program in ascending order from community, to teaching, to exercise and play. A cafeteria, library, and a 600-seat auditorium are located on the lower levels. Spiral stairs interconnect classrooms, art and science labs, and makerspaces in the middle levels. Upper levels feature a gymnasium and culminate with a rooftop playground.

An outdoor playspace tops the building.

The eco-friendly, LEED Gold-compliant building is meant to act itself as a teacher. Students participate in the sustainable design features: they plant and maintain the green roof as part of the science curriculum, monitor rainwater collection, and activate natural ventilation to reduce mechanical system use by up to 800 hours per year. The design inspired the school to advance the adaptive reuse of its original building, with the goal of creating a net-zero campus by 2050.

Brearley was one of the few private schools in New York City to remain open and functional during the pandemic. 800 people attended daily and stayed healthy. The well-proportioned classrooms, fresh air, efficient filtration systems, operable windows, wide hallways, and interconnecting stairs facilitated COVID-19 protocols.

The vertical campus includes wide hallways and interconnecting stairs.

Kinesthetic learning—using paper and pencils, and reading books instead of watching screens—is at the core of Brearley’s pedagogy. When the virtual and the real are out of balance, this project reminds us that architecture must support human well-being with beautiful, tactile, light-filled, well-ventilated spaces for gathering, learning, creativity, and collaboration.

The pandemic exposed significant inequities, and reinforced the need for the education and empowerment of women for a sustainable future. Every design element advances Brearley’s mission to cultivate confident, independent leaders.

View of the 600-seat flexible, multi-purpose auditorium

:: Jury ::  The implementation of a school in a dense urban environment presents significant challenges. The jury noted well distributed vertical functions without affecting the fluidity of movement while simultaneously creating collaborative spaces. The new tower is finely integrated into the urban fabric both by its massing and the composition of its facades, creating a gateway to the campus. This project is a bold urban redevelopment project that showcases student life activities on the street: a sign of hope for the future.

CLIENT The Brearley School | ARCHITECT TEAM Marianne McKenna, Luigi LaRocca, David Constable, Lucy Timbers, David Smythe, Carolyn Lee, Talal Rahmeh, Alistair Grierson, Thom Seto, Lukas Bergmark, Lily Huang, Ramin Yamin, Joseph Kan, Peter Kitchen, Rafaela Ahsan, Jessica Juvet, Ilana Altman, Jordan Evans | STRUCTURAL/ENVELOPE Entuitive | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/PLUMBING Thomas Polise Consulting Engineers | CODE CCI | AV/IT/SECURITY TM Technologies | ACOUSTICS Longman Lindsey | THEATRE ACOUSTICS Sound Space Vision and Stages | LEED Steven Winter Associates | CLIMATE ENGINEERS Transsolar | SIGNAGE Entro | BUDGET $67.2 M| OCCUPANCY September 2019

 

Forest Pavilion

LOCATION Winnipeg, Manitoba

ARCHITECT Public City Architecture Inc.

PHOTOS Lindsay Reid

Bridging over a trail, the pavilion creates a shaded space that welcomes park visitors from both sides.

Forest Pavilion is a four-season structure constructed on Treaty One land in the floodway zone of the Red River, at Crescent Drive Park in southwest Winnipeg. Conceived as a multi-functional civic asset, it was designed and built on a very tight budget over six years.

In addition to providing three new public washrooms, Forest Pavilion includes three new types of outdoor rooms designed to address the impacts of a changing climate on urban parks. The Shade Room is a roofed hallway through the Pavilion, providing respite from increasing summer temperatures. Adjacent to it is an insulated room with passive ventilation, providing a tempered space for warming up in winter, and for sheltering from the driving rain or hot prairie wind in summer. Lastly, an open-to-the-sky gathering room centres on a freestanding fireplace. Framed by five-metre-tall screen walls, this room serves as an outdoor/indoor cultural and casual gathering area. Forest Pavilion embraces its own hearth.

A semi-enclosed gathering area includes a central fireplace, and is intended to allow for formal and informal gatherings.

The Pavilion is the first civic structure of its kind to apply FEMA flood-protection design standards. This starts with its siting: Forest Pavilion nestles in an existing clearing atop the highest point in the park. All materials below the floodline can be completely submerged without decay: stainless steel doors, frames, and fasteners are used below the flood protection level. The concrete base is designed with upstands to raise framing sole plates, and concealed pressure relief strategies in the walls keep water moving. A reduced number of right angles in the plan also helps the structure to shed flowing water. To further eliminate obstructions, the project uses large swinging wall panels, and avoids floor-mounted fixtures.

No trees were felled in the construction of Forest Pavilion. Adding to the Pavilion’s sustainability, the construction included hot-dipped galvanized steel chosen for its durability, and rough-sawn fir that was sourced and milled using sustainable harvest practices. The timber components of the structure are mechanically fastened, so that individual pieces can be easily replaced if necessary. The design also includes super-low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting, occupancy sensors to reduce energy consumption, and native plantings.

A vibrant chartreuse interior gives the pavilion a presence likened to a porch light or lantern in its forested setting.

Highly visible from throughout the park, the Pavilion dissolves day to night from a wooden form to a lantern-like void. Its vibrant chartreuse Venetian plaster interior offers a dramatic welcome to visitors at night—a porch light in the forest. The vertical fir screen that wraps interior and exterior rooms has a syncopated rhythm, referencing the way space, light, and forms appear through a forest. The design folds this phenomenon into a single form, then sculpts away portals for views and access.

Forest Pavilion serves as a hub that supports visitors of all kinds: caregivers and kids at the nearby playground, cyclists passing through, friends meeting to socialize, cultural groups gathering to mark a special event, and people playing sports all year long. Its program goes beyond established past uses and conventional ideas about park pavilions. Rather, as a multi-functional civic asset, it creates opportunities to respond to Winnipeg’s emerging cultural and climatic landscapes.

:: Jury ::  This pavilion is a space that redraws the forest. Its permeability and playful forms create a contemporary palisade. An archetypal Canadian pavilion in the forest, it creates a microcosm in its interior courtyard. The jury also highlighted its relation to the forest and its spatial continuity.

CLIENT City of Winnipeg | ARCHITECT TEAM Peter Sampson (FRAIC), Andrew Lewthwaite, Dirk Blouw, Tim Horton, Russell Krepart | LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE TEAM Liz Wreford, Taylor LaRocque | STRUCTURAL Wolfrom Engineering | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL MCW Consultants Ltd. | BUILDER Marrbeck Construction | BUDGET $1.2 M | OCCUPANCY January 2021

 

The Idea Exchange Old Post Office

LOCATION Galt, Ontario

ARCHITECT RDH Architects (RDHA)

PHOTOS Tom Arban

The Idea Exchange Old Post Office’s multipurpose gathering area cantilevers out over the Grand River.

The Idea Exchange Old Post Office is situated upon the traditional territories of the Neutral, the Anishinaabeg, and the Haudenosaunee Peoples, at the edge of the Grand River in downtown Galt, Ontario. The project goal was to transform a dilapidated heritage post office into Canada’s first “bookless” library, offering all age groups free access to an array of public spaces for learning, making, performance, and other creative endeavours. It also aimed to establish a new community hub, complete with a contiguous café for meeting and socializing.

The main floor space serves as a dining area for the adjacent café, lounge, reading room, and space for public presentations and gatherings.

Anchored along the bank of the Grand River, the project revitalizes a heritage-listed 1885 masonry post office that had fallen into disrepair. It adds an 835-square-metre transparent pavilion that wraps around the original building and stretches out over the water, revealing the public programs offered within. These programs include the café—which doubles as a reading room and public presentation area—a black box theatre, film and audio recording suites, gaming areas, a children’s learning level, and spaces for sewing, carpentry, and 3D printing.

The meticulously restored heritage building has a strong presence in downtown Galt, Ontario.

The existing Neo-Gothic post office, designed by the architect of the Parliament Buildings, Thomas Fuller, carries municipal, provincial, and federal historic designations. Although an expression of its time, the building had virtually no connection with the river. Consequently, the designers embraced the idea that the project could restore this important remnant of settler heritage, while also repairing a lost opportunity to establish a strong human and environmental connection.

The former post office was adaptively reused into maker spaces.
The second floor is a kids’ area for creative play.

The downtown site benefits from views across, up, and down the river, towards major cultural facilities such as the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, the main branch of the Idea Exchange, two large cathedrals, and a new performing arts facility. The glass addition to the post office is conceived as a transparent, glowing, contemporary pavilion floating atop the Grand. Its material vocabulary of transparency brings light into the various levels of studios and public gathering spaces.

Housed within a heritage structure in constant dialogue with its contemporary addition, the Idea Exchange Old Post Office projects the life and vitality of a progressive public library program to the street, the river, and the city beyond.

Skylights connect the historic structure with the new addition.

:: Jury ::  The architects integrated contemporary volumes into a historic building with boldness and attention to the fine detail of the junctions between the new and existing structures. This creates a continuity by contrast. Lightened views among common spaces over the water and the gesture of daylight washing the historic façades create an interesting and coherent program.

CLIENT City of Cambridge and the Idea Exchange | ARCHITECT TEAM Tyler Sharp, Bob Goyeche, Juan Caballero, Simon Routh, Soo-Jin Rim, Ivan Ilic, Gladys Cheung | STRUCTURAL WSP/Halsall | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL Jain Associates Ltd. | CIVIL Valdor Engineering | ACOUSTICS Aercoustics | CODE L.R.I. | COST AW Hooker | CONTRACTOR Collaborative Structures Ltd. | BUDGET $12.8 M | OCCUPANCY October 2018

 

INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL HISTORY AND DIALOGUE CENTRE

LOCATION University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

ARCHITECT Formline Architecture

PHOTOS Andrew Latreille Photography

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre sits near the university’s clock tower and Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the repository of the university’s archives.

In 1993 Alfred Waugh, a full status member of the Fond Du Lac Denesuline First Nation, became the first Indigenous graduate of UBC’s architecture school. His mother carried the difficult experience of attending a Northern Alberta residential school. The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC)’s unprecedented program and its careful siting in a vital setting drew on this knowledge, and its forms were developed in consort with Elders and Indigenous representatives from across the country.

The IRSHDC is much smaller than the Brutalist and Collegiate Gothic campus buildings surrounding it; there was early agreement on its modesty of scale and the use of wood as its primary construction material. Space planning required interior and exterior spaces to be equally conducive to large gatherings and solitary moments of reflection, with a design emphasis on serenity and directness. The integration of natural light, a selection of culturally resonant finishes and details, and a close link with natural surroundings were all thought central to the healing process, so the flanking decks and garden are essential components of its conception.

The roof’s water is captured and falls down a glass channel between two copper clad columns, representing the tears of survivors from residential schools.

Buildings promoting human rights tend towards being either monuments or library-archives. While it has elements of both of these, the IRSHDC aspires to something more—a site that facilitates the social act of reconciliation. A much-appreciated new oasis near the main libraries of a mega-university, the IRSHDC is a place of memory, repose and contemplation. The building’s lower level is largely devoted to a public gallery called the “Vault of Memories” with interactive wall displays where citizens—Indigenous and not—can call up photographs, videos and biographies of the students and the places they lived. The entire layout turns around the emotional process of confronting a difficult past, with a sunken garden and natural wetland adjacent, seen against the backdrop of a tiered landscape. Visitors can pass from displays to garden and back again as they wish. Upstairs are meeting rooms with support staff available for counselling and dialogue with visitors, and where programs to advance reconciliation are devised. IRSHDC’s urban design provides a quiet park for pauses by harried students, while bringing its mission of memory to the core of a contemporary institution.

A wall clad with woven Western Cedar flanks the main stair.

Because it was to serve all the diverse range of Canada’s First Nations, symbols and materials were selected to evoke a pride of culture for Indigenous peoples from many different cultural heritages. Walls and floors are constructed from spruce-pine cross-laminated timber, while the wooden roof structure has an asymmetrical butterfly wing shape, selected to provide clear spans, extensive overhangs, and a low roof profile at the highly visible campus core. Charred cedar planks double as markers of scarring, contrasting with a visually porous Douglas Fir glulam curtain wall that brings north light through the interior. Rainwater is collected from this roof, then descends down along a glass and copper-lined scupper to the garden pond. Copper was a high-status material for many Canadian First Nations and Canadian public buildings; the rainwater is an analogue for the tears shed in remembering. The main public stair features a garden view at one side and is brightened at the top by sparkling clusters of LED ring lights. Its inside wall, lined with woven Western Red Cedar strips, is an interpretation of traditional woven baskets.

View from the outdoor learning plaza created on the roof of exhibition space, with seating steps overlooking the courtyard.

:: Jury ::  This project deals with the difficult topic of reconciliation and trauma and addresses it in an architecture that challenges the common aesthetic perception. The community-driven process brings symbolism and generates dialogue through its overall assembly of elements. The jury felt the project delicately balanced this complexity.

CLIENT University of British Columbia Properties Trust | ARCHITECT TEAM Alfred Waugh, Manny Trinca, Vince Knudsen | STRUCTURAL Bush Bohlman & Partners | MECHANICAL Smith + Andersen | ELECTRICAL Applied Engineering Solutions | LANDSCAPE PFS Studio | ENVELOPE JRS Engineering | CODE LMDG | MASS TIMBER SPECIALIST Structurlam Products LP | WOOD SPECIALIST Nicola Logworks | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER BIRD Construction | BUDGET $2.7 M | OCCUPANCY July 2017

 

JULIS ROMO RABINOVITZ BUILDING & LOUIS A. SIMPSON INTERNATIONAL BUILDING

LOCATION Princeton University, New Jersey

ARCHITECT KPMB Architects

PHOTOS Adrien Williams

A new entrance to the Louis A. Sampson International Building faces the Fountain of Freedom, in Scudder Plaza.

Princeton University is simultaneously grounded in the past and continuously evolving to respond to future needs. The Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building & Louis A. Simpson International Building at 20 Washington Road represents the latest generation of campus development. It prioritizes the repurposing of an existing building to advance the university’s sustainability plan, while fulfilling the master plan vision to create a new social sciences and humanities neighbourhood.

The original Collegiate Gothic building (1929) housed the Department of Chemistry and was expanded with several additions over time, resulting in a labyrinthine arrangement of spaces including large laboratory classrooms and mechanical areas. The challenge was to balance the preservation and restoration of the heritage exterior with the complete transformation of the interior into a light-filled, interconnected environment for the Department of Economics and International Initiatives. The resulting place was envisaged as a focal point in the new academic neighbourhood.

The main entrance to the Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building faces Washington Avenue.

The building is located on the seam where the historic west campus meets the contemporary east campus. The quads and pathways that weave Princeton’s campus together inspired the transformation of the interior into a microcosm of the campus. A network of generous circulation corridors with gently sloped ramps resolve transitions between different levels of the Collegiate Gothic building and a 1964 extension. Porcelain tiles provide ease and safety of mobility and wayfinding, matching the bluestone of Princeton’s classic cobblestone pathways. Indiana limestone, argillite, white oak, low-iron etched glass, and custom steel details complement the heritage fabric and character.

The International Atrium spans between the original 1929 building and a 1964 addition.

Each department required its own identity within the whole. Economics is housed in the 1929 building, with an entrance through the heritage vestibule on Washington Road. Two single-storey glass pavilions are discreetly set on the roof of the Washington Road elevation to provide desirable and much-needed meeting and event space. International Initiatives occupies the 1964 addition, which features a new stone entrance and atrium overlooking Scudder Plaza, the Fountain of Freedom, and Robertson Hall. A significant yet subtle intervention, it has had a huge impact on reactivating one of Princeton’s significant outdoor spaces. Along the building’s edges, the landscaping strategy harkens back to the Beatrix Farrand design that shaped the grounds in the first half of the 20th century.

A translucent glass meeting room cantilevers out over the Forum Atrium.

Princeton was the first Ivy League university to develop and implement a bold sustainability plan. This project exemplifies adaptive reuse as an act of social and environmental sustainability, by repurposing 86% of the existing building and having all new additions occur within the existing footprint. The insulation of the heritage masonry walls, combined with high-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems, significantly reduces energy consumption. All the heritage windows were replaced with operable windows that preserve the original glazing’s proportions and character. While the pre-design target in 2011 was LEED Silver, the design has achieved LEED Gold standards.

The adaptive reuse and transformation of 20 Washington Road evolves Princeton’s legacy as one of the world’s most beautiful, enduring campuses. The tectonics and details, along with an emphasis on high-quality, low-maintenance materials, reflect a tradition of long-term thinking while playing a role towards achieving a net-zero campus by 2047.

:: Jury ::  The careful design of this project promotes a respectful relation between historic building preservation and contemporary architecture. The building creates generous spaces, brings abundant light into an interior courtyard, and creates a truly livable space.

CLIENT Princeton University | ARCHITECT TEAM Bruce Kuwabara, Shirley Blumberg, David Jesson, Mark Jaffar, David Smythe, Lynn Pilon, Gabriel Fain, Annie Pelletier, Ya’el Santopinto, Elizabeth Paden, Victor Garzon, Clementine Chang, Carolyn Lee (associate), Dina Sarhane, Rachel Cyr, Kristina Strecker, Samantha Hart | STRUCTURAL/ENVELOPE Thornton Thomasetti | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/PLUMBING/FIRE PROTECTION AltieriSeborWieber | CIVIL Van Note-Harvey and Associates | CODE/FIRE AND LIFE SAFETY Phil R. Sherman, P.E.| COST Vermeulens | SPECIFICATIONS Brian Ballantyne | ACOUSTICS/AV Cerami & Associates | ELEVATOR Van Deusen | LIGHTING Tillotson Design Associates | SIGNAGE Entro Communications | HERITAGE Jablonski Building Conservation | SUSTAINABILITY Atelier Ten | LANDSCAPE Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates | PROJECT MANAGER Lorine Murray-Mechini | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Barr & Barr | BUDGET Withheld | OCCUPANCY April 2017

 

LES ROCHERS

LOCATION Magdelen Islands, Quebec

ARCHITECT La Shed Architecture

PHOTOS Maxime Brouillet

The main house incorporates the form of the local vernacular entrance vestibule within its silhouette.

Les Rochers is located on the west point of Havre Aubert Island, the southernmost of the Magdalen Islands, a site with the most beautiful sunsets. With their sculptural silhouettes, the house and guesthouse overlook the territory and offer a contemporary reinterpretation of the Magdalen Islands home. With its two simple volumes clad with cedar shingle façades, the project integrates respectfully with the landscape, echoing the materials and scale of regional vernacular buildings.

A starting point for the design is the traditional gable roof house. Adjusting the geometry, La Shed breaks the proportions and creates asymmetric forms, a playful nod to the houses of the Islands, where the silhouette is thrown out of balance by the tambour—a covered structure often added to the front entrance of local houses. The tambour acts as a depressurizing airlock to protect houses from strong winds, a response to the Islands’ climatic conditions.

The main house is seen with the guesthouse in the distance.

In Les Rochers, the two buildings embed the tambour within their volumes, each in their own way. The main house is more upfront about the inspiration of the tambour in its silhouette, whereas the guesthouse includes it completely beneath an extension of the roof. Even if their forms are distinct, the two houses are harmonious. With their variegated profiles, the two buildings echo the rugged cliffs surrounding the Islands.

The interior of the main house has a refined look.
In contrast, he guesthouse has an exposed structure that evokes a rustic fishing cabin.

The interior architecture of the two residences is steeped in the aesthetic of seaside houses. The guesthouse, with its exposed structure, recalls a rustic fishing cabin and has a casual atmosphere. The main house, which  is slightly larger, is more refined, and stylish but restrained. Light tones are dominant; the lines are rich and delicate. True to their practice, La Shed is engaged in a dialogue that is intimate and sensitive to its context.

Adjacent the houses, terraces follow the topographic curves of the terrain. These sinuous forms bring to mind the meeting of cliffs and sand. Like the docks that welcome ships, the wood platforms tie together architecture and landscape. The boardwalks that lead to the houses recall those used to cross sand dunes to reach beaches.

Views, orientation, and the dynamics between the two houses guided the site plan. The residences have been placed so as to offer the most beautiful views of the surroundings, while taking care to not compromise the privacy of occupants. The fenestration hints at the breathtaking panoramas seen from within, and reinforces the impression that the buildings are like living paintings.

Large windows in both houses frame views to the ocean.

As with all of La Shed’s projects, the custom design of the architectural elements and a precise and sensitive attention to detail help create a strong, coherent and beautiful project. Striking a balance between charm and simplicity, Les Rochers offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere and spectacular views that enrich the space and those who inhabit it.

:: Jury ::  This project underlines the importance of architecture in everyday life; how simple gestures accentuate the many things a living space can have. The design of these two houses reveals the essence of the home in its simplest expression, using a contemporary language imbued with historical symbols.

CLIENT Private | ARCHITECT TEAM Renée Mailhot, Sébastien Parent, Yannick Laurin, Dahlia Marinier-Doucet, Samuel Guimond, Anthony Bergoin, Olivier Bérard, Clément Stoll, Kevyn Durocher, Romy Brosseau, Pierre-Alexandre Lemieux, Cédric Langevin, Guillaume Fournier | BUDGET Withheld | OCCUPANCY June 2020

 

Point Wiliam Cottage

LOCATION Point William, Muskoka, Ontario

ARCHITECT Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

The cottage wraps around a bedrock outcrop on the Canadian Shield landscape of Ontario’s Lake Muskoka. Photo Ed Burtynsky

Point William Cottage is a laboratory for living, offering a rich spatial experience that moves fluidly between interior and exterior spaces, while demarcating a place in the Canadian landscape.

Located on the Canadian Shield, Point William is one of three slender peninsulas jutting into Lake Muskoka, and carries a rich geographic and cultural history. This project draws inspiration from the building culture of this part of Ontario: from sophisticated Muskoka boats and elaborate Victorian cottages, to underwater infrastructures made from heavy timber. The cottage replaces an existing 1960s building that occupied the tip of the peninsula, and is sited to reveal a large rock outcropping that was covered by the previous structure.

A view of the cottage’s north elevation in winter. Photo Scott Norsworthy

The modern house has always been linked to the remarkable experiments that define the modernist project. In a similar spirit, Point William Cottage begins with architecture, and then expands its territory to include landscape, furniture, lighting, hardware and fittings. Design invention, material exploration, and a sense of delight take place at multiple levels. The scale of a door handle and of an architectural section are explored simultaneously.

The building’s exterior palette combines local granite, weathered atmospheric steel, untreated ipe wood, and bronze-clad windows—all choreographed to create four distinct elevations, which are syncopated to respond to each orientation and program. The material palette was selected to ensure longevity, gracious aging, and anticipation of weathering over time.

; an elongated entryway acts as an indoor-outdoor porch. Photo Scott Norsworthy

The building’s spatial sequence begins with an entry porch, framed by a series of deep weathering steel fins that straddle indoors and outdoors on one side, and weathering steel panels washed by natural light on the other. Canadian granite is pulled inside, defining the floor plane, while the skylit ceiling plane is shaped by natural light sweeping across Douglas fir panels. The cinematic space created by the deep weathering steel fins continually frames and reframes views of the landscape.

The living space looks out towards the lake. Photo Scott Norsworthy

Light is manipulated and sculpted through the articulated sections in this project. The reflected ceiling plan is an important dimension of this building, contributing a rich spatial sequence of interrelated and overlapping spaces. Several J-shaped double-glazed windows create poignant moments of transition throughout the project. The living area is located at the water’s edge and is designed to act as a light reflector, with high vertical clerestory windows contrasting with panoramic windows below.

Through its sculptural form and careful material selection, Point William Cottage fuses its built form with its land form, creating a special place on the Canadian Shield.

Meticulous attention to detailing within the cottage extends to the ceiling plane. Photo Scott Norsworthy

:: Jury ::  This cottage stood out for its attention to design details at multiple scales. The creative fabrication and craft echoes characteristics of an organic Art Deco architecture. The building itself belongs to the natural context and is adjusted to the topography, giving it a naval quality-a sunken vessel on the shore.

CLIENT Private | ARCHITECT TEAM Brigitte Shim, Howard Sutcliffe,  Stephane LeBlanc, Zachariah Glennon | STRUCTURAL Blackwell Structural Engineers | MECHANICAL BK Consulting Inc. | ELECTRICAL Dynamic Designs and Engineering Inc. | BUILDER Judges Contracting | CONSTRUCTION CONSULTANT VMF Structures Ltd.| INTERIORS Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc., Chapi Chapo Design Inc., Karen Petrachenko | HARDWARE Upper Canada Specialty Hardware Ltd.| CUSTOM MILLWORK Millworks Custom Manufacturing (2001) Inc. | CUSTOM METALS FABRICATION JSW Manufacturing Inc., NorStar Aluminum Products Ltd., Mariani Metal Fabricators Ltd., Millworks Custom Manufacturing (2001) Inc. | CUSTOM STONEWORK CB Marble Craft Ltd. | CUSTOM FURNITURE FABRICATION Millworks Custom Manufacturing (2001) Inc., 2 Degrees North Inc., Kai Leather Product Design | CUSTOM HARDWARE Rocky Mountain Hardware Inc., Canadian Builders Hardware Mfg. Inc. | CUSTOM 3D PRINTED HARDWARE Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc. | CUSTOM WINDOWS AND DOORS Tradewood Windows + Doors Inc. | A/V Entertaining Interiors | LIGHTING AND ELECTRICAL Morrow Electric Ltd. | LANDSCAPING Ted Smith Construction of Bala Ltd., Brackenrig Landscaping | BUDGET Withheld | OCCUPANCY May 2017

 

RECEPTION PAVILION OF THE QUEBEC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

LOCATION Quebec City, Quebec

ARCHITECTS Provencher_Roy | GLCRM Architectes

A spiralling ramp leads from the transparent entrance down to the Agora. The interplay of light and colour imparts a museum-like quality to the space, with blue and red referring to the National Assembly’s Salon bleu and Salon rouge. Photo Olivier Blouin

Provencher_Roy and GLCRM Architects’ reception pavilion for the Parliament Building of the National Assembly of Quebec is a quiet, but transformative addition that revolutionizes how citizens engage, experience, and participate in their democracy. The original Parliament—a Second Empire stone edifice designed by Eugène-Étienne Taché—is an important civic icon, presenting stately beauty and an iconic facade. But its monumental style and opaque materiality made the building forbidding, and its lack of public space made it inaccessible to citizens. In these ways, the building undercut the democratic ideals it stood for: participation in government, openness, and transparency.

A bird’s eye view of the site. Photo Stéphane Groleau

The team approached the pavilion as an opportunity for change, opening the building to the people of Quebec and granting them their rightful place at the National Assembly. With sweeping spaces for public gatherings and events and a new transparent entrance, the pavilion creates an open, inclusive, and lively hub that invites diverse communities to gather at the heart of their government. As an embodiment of Québécois civic ideals and as a community anchor, the pavilion has become a place of pride for citizens and a destination for international visitors.

Deferring to the historic building, the reception pavilion is built beneath the Parliament Gardens, with a transparent entrance nestled between two existing curving staircases. Photo Olivier Blouin

To achieve this while deferring to the historic building, the team tucked the reception pavilion beneath the Parliament Gardens and added a transparent entrance nestled between two existing curved staircases. This maintains the original central axis and symmetry, and preserves sightlines to the facade and gardens. Building underground also offered simple, cost-effective ways to incorporate the robust security measures required in government buildings. The approach has become a precedent for similar buildings in Canada.

The heart of the addition is the Agora, seen here at the building’s opening with political party leaders from Quebec. Photo Charles O’Hara

The heart of the building is the Agora: a forum that welcomes community members for public events and encourages participation in democracy. In form and function, the Agora references the ancient Athenian Pnyx, the assembly place where citizens of the world’s first democracy debated and voted. Since opening, the Agora has hosted events like the Financière des Professionnels Conference for women in finance, Université Laval symposia, and the Quebec City Film Festival—as well as being a setting for public gatherings such as a vigil for the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre.

A perforated wood mural along the ramp celebrates Quebec’s symbolic milestones and showcases figures in modern Québécois history. Photo Olivier Blouin

A spiralling ramp connects the Agora to ground level. A mural along the ramp celebrates Quebec’s symbolic milestones, showcasing figures in modern Québécois history, including Indigenous and women leaders. An oculus lets in natural light, making the space feel bright and welcoming. The oculus also frames a view of Parliament, incorporating the site’s heritage with the interior experience. White floors and ceilings further brighten the space and are accented with wood walls. This materiality makes for a contemporary environment in a universal design language that complements the historic Parliament.

Building underground minimized the project’s environmental impact and allowed over 91% of construction waste to be recycled, while saving on construction and maintenance costs, and ensuring the longevity of the structures.

:: Jury ::  The jury noted that this project highlighted a capacity to add value in a reserved way. The long promenade to access the building ends up in a large gathering space, creating a new agora that is illuminated with natural light coming from a contemporary oculus. This reconnects with traditional public building typologies. The quality of interior spaces and the integration of construction systems in perforated panels create seamless surfaces.

CLIENT Assemblée national du Québec | ARCHITECT TEAM Provencher_Roy—Claude Provencher (FIRAC); Matthieu Geoffrion (MIRAC), Nicolas Demers-Stoddart (MIRAC), Émilie Banville, Daniel Legault, Maïda Beylerian, Sami Bouzouita, Marilina Cianci, Maxime Giguère, Fanette Montmartin, Andres Moreno, Normand Desjardins, Tristan Leahy, Neil Aspinall, Zoey Cai, Karim Duranceau, Maxime Duval-Stojanovi?, Suzanne Essiambre, Charles-Alexandre Lefebvre, Pierre Lussier, Franck Murat. GLCRM Architects—Marc Letellier (FIRAC), François Bécotte, Maxime Turgeon, Shirley Gagnon, Louis-Xavier Gadoury, Jocelyn Martel, Raphaël Hamelin, Réal St-Pierre, Vincent Lavoie, Suzanne Castonguay. | ELECTRICAL/MECHANICAL Cima + | STRUCTURAL/CIVIL WSP Canada | CONTRACTOR Pomerleau | CODE GLT+ | ELEVATOR CPAI Solucore | ACOUSTICS Acoustec | MULTIMEDIA GoMultimédia | SECURITY CSP Inc. | BUDGET $43 M | OCCUPANCY May 2019

 

Stormwater Facility

LOCATION Toronto, Ontario

ARCHITECT gh3*

PHOTOS Adrian Ozimek

A street-facing window offers a glimpse of the equipment inside the facility.

The Stormwater Facility (SWF) treats urban runoff from Toronto’s new West Don Lands and Quayside neighbourhoods. The clients, Waterfront Toronto and Toronto Water, wanted a landmark building that would signal a new and distinctive city precinct. Achieving this demanded a design of conceptual clarity and rigour to meet the strong character of the surrounding area, which includes railway yards to the north, the ramps and roadways of Lake Shore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway to the south, and the industrial Port Lands across the Keating Channel. The monolithic, cast-in-situ concrete form is both a complement and striking counterpoint to the infrastructural and aesthetic complexity all around. Even at speed from the Gardiner and Lake Shore Expressways, the building registers as a poetic ellipsis amid the intensity of its surroundings.

Inside, a skylight brings natural light into the stormwater facility.

A strategically placed opening in the façade reveals glimpses of the building’s inner workings, and a sky window on the south facet of the roof is a luminescent beacon to the city at night. These openings intentionally invite curiosity about the expanding city and its supporting infrastructure, specifically the work being done to keep urban water clean and safe. The building acts as an important catalyst for increased civic engagement and pride.

The project combines three major elements into an integrated urban, landscape and architectural statement. The first is the stormwater reservoir: a 20-metre-diameter shaft covered by a radial steel grate that acts as an inverted siphon to receive untreated stormwater from the surrounding development. Directly above is a working ground plane of asphalt and concrete, with a central channel and surrounding gutters to link the reservoir shaft to the treatment plant. Finally, the most prominent element of the facility is the 600-square-metre stormwater treatment plant itself, where the water is further processed for safe release back into Lake Ontario. The design for SWF takes these constituent parts and unifies them into a whole that renders their infrastructural functions legible, didactic and aesthetically compelling.

The roof is articulated with a minimalist gutter as well as a grid of snow guards.

Programmatically, SWF tells a story of water. The design of the main enclosure references the architecture of a stone well, inverted to manifest as a sculptural form above ground. This modern interpretation of an ancient vernacular is further expressed by etchings in the concrete surface. A system of rain channels runs from roof to wall, to ground plane and into the shaft—a narrative of the larger system of urban hydrology in which the building is embedded.

Materially, both the building and landscape are constructed with exposed concrete, resulting in the abstraction of ground and wall, and environmentally mitigating solar heat gain and extending the service life of the facility. Low energy inputs are achieved with a highly insulated envelope, daylighting, and passive cooling and ventilation. The result is a building whose performance will match its contribution to the broader project of sustainable development in the West Don Lands.

The building is conceived as a sculptural object within its urban setting.

Architecturally, SWF adds to a list of Toronto’s historic infrastructural works—such as the R.C. Harris Treatment Plant, the Bloor Viaduct, and the Hearn Power Station—whose architectural character has helped to both express and define Toronto’s identity at different moments in time.

:: Jury ::  The sculptural form of the facility and the negotiation between scale and connection to the ground were noted by the jury. They felt that these qualities reinforced the power of architecture to intervene in unsuspecting conditions to create beauty around us.

CLIENT Waterfront Toronto and Toronto Water | ARCHITECT TEAM Pat Hanson, Raymond Chow, Joel DiGiacomo, Richard Freeman, Bernard Jin | PRIME CONSULTANT RV Anderson | STRUCTURAL / MECHANICAL / ELECTRICAL RV Anderson | LANDSCAPE gh3* | INTERIORS gh3* | CONTRACTOR Graham Construction | WASTE WATER WSP | SOILS & ENVIRONMENTAL GHD | BUDGET Withheld | OCCUPANCY May 2021

 

TOM PATTERSON THEATRE

LOCATION Stratford, Ontario

ARCHITECT Hariri Pontarini Architects

The new theatre is a jewel-like presence along the Avon River. Photo Ann Baggley

Selected from an international competition of 92 entries, the design for the new Tom Patterson Theatre at the Stratford Festival is a striking presence along the banks of the Avon River. The theatre is located on the site of the former Tom Patterson Theatre, a converted curling rink. The new building aspires to be a cultural beacon that defines the next 50 years of this significant cultural institution.

The new building aimed not only to provide what the previous one lacked, but to also pay homage to its memory. The new venue expands the technical capabilities of live theatre and wraps itself in amenity-rich spaces, establishing an immersive, social experience that revolves around and complements the magic of the performing arts.

A shimmering façade ebbs and flows in step with the river. This curvilinear form creates quiet folds and eddies of encounter across a sequence of spacious public rooms that course from one to the next. Panoramic garden and river views dissolve the line between indoors and out.

At the core of the building, the theatre is structured around an extended thrust stage—a signature innovation in stagecraft developed at the Stratford Festival fifty years ago. Photo doublespace photography

At the heart of the building, the horseshoe-shaped auditorium is enclosed in curving walls of light-coloured brick. Inside the wood-lined room, 600 custom-designed seats surround an elongated thrust stage inspired by the dimensions of the previous stage. The acoustics and sightlines create an experience of true intimacy and connection between audience and performer.

Craftsmanship and attention to detail serve to impart an emotional resonance that aligns with the festival’s ambition to engage its community. Education programs now have a permanent home in this theatre. For donor patrons, the members’ lounge features a contemporary fireplace in a dramatic space with wraparound glazing that tapers beneath a wood-clad ceiling. The building has a complement of back-of-house amenities, which, like the public spaces and auditorium, are fully accessible.

Landscape-facing gathering spaces surround the theatre, allowing for an enhanced guest experience. Photo Scott Norsworthy

A 250-seat program space adds versatility: it can extend the lobby, or acoustically enclose a forum for concurrent performances and other events. Throughout the gathering areas, the breadth of the design creates multiple vantage points to heighten the relationship between the interior, the gardens and river. Elevating the building above a passing road allows for uninterrupted views to the natural setting.

Rare for performing arts buildings, this theatre is highly sustainable. It targets LEED Gold certification through carefully integrated energy and water conservation programs within a high-performance building envelope. The double-glazed curtainwall with bird-friendly frit is north-facing, reducing solar heat gain. Durable building materials prioritize renewable and recycled content. To build the stage in the preferred material, a birch tree woodlot was purchased for sustainable harvest. Stage lighting is one of the first energy-efficient, all-LED systems in use. Landscaping of new civic gardens features indigenous and drought-resistant plant species, and new pathways and bike lanes connect with existing routes.

This theatre marks a milestone for the festival as it enters its 70th year. Earlier venues supported the festival’s emergence. Now, the new Tom Patterson Theatre is poised to play a leading role in the festival’s future.

:: Jury ::  The jury lauded this exceptional cultural building located by the water. They noted an excellent integration with the site and promenade. The nature of materials, organic forms and textures promotes sensory perception and contributes to the appreciation of the arts. The elegant assembly creates a calm and inspiring atmosphere inside and outside the enclosure.

CLIENT Stratford Festival | ARCHITECT TEAM Siamak Hariri, Lindsay Hochman, Doron Meinhard, Anne Ma, Jeff Strauss, Stefan Abidin, Miren Etxezarreta-Aranburu, Leandro Abungin, Steve Kang, Anna Antropova, Jimmy Farrington | CONTRACTOR EllisDon | LANDSCAPE Hariri Pontarini Architects with Holbrook & Associates with The Planning Partnership | STRUCTURAL Thornton Tomasetti | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL ARUP | THEATRE PLANNER Fisher Dachs Associates | ACOUSTICS Aercoustics Engineering | A/V Novita Techne Limited | LIGHTING Martin Conboy Lighting Design | LEED RDH | BUDGET $70 M | OCCUPANCY May 2020

 

Village at the End of the World

LOCATION Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia

ARCHITECT Brian MacKay-Lyons, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd.

Simple buildings are aggregated to recall a former fishing village on the site. Photo doublespace photography

Architecture begins with the land. The site for this project was a seasonal settlement for millennia for the Mi’kmaq First Nation (architect Brian MacKay-Lyon’s ancestors), a safe harbour for early French and Basque fishermen to dry their catch, an Acadian colony in the early 1600s, and a foreign Protestant settlement in the 1750s. The legacy of inhabitation of this place is one of diverse cultures and continuous evolution, with forests giving way to farmlands, then returning back again. With the help of friends, neighbours and colleagues, the architect, over 25 years, has re-cleared the forest and cultivated the soil, revealing its historic ruins and uncovering its 500 years of agrarian history.

At Ghost 7, students developed and worked on the construction of a structure with four guest cabins. Photo James Steeves

Many of the structures that occupy the Atlantic Nova Scotia coastline site are products of an international design/build program called Ghost, which started on the land in 1994. The spirit of collaboration and community engagement born from Ghost has given way to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Today, the village is the centre of a community and way of working that holds at its core the values gleaned from Ghost: working together, economy as ethic, spirit of place, and the critical study of vernacular building practice. Amongst the ruins of the site, a proto-urban village has emerged that serves as a school, farm, and community.

The Ghost 6 team built a pair of towers. Photo Robin Ramcharran

The first Ghost Lab started when, frustrated with the state of architectural education, MacKay-Lyons pulled his students out of school to participate in a two-week event, culminating in the erection a temporary installation on the property he had recently purchased. The glowing structure evoked an archetypal farmhouse, with a sparse wood frame draped in white fabric. At the end of the two weeks, the construction was lit from inside, and served as a venue for a community concert. This tradition continued for twelve years, culminating in an international conference that brought together builders, architects, students, historians and the local community in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, or Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio.

Two historic buildings were moved to the site and faithfully restored. Photo William Green

Since that time, MacKay-Lyons has operated as the ‘village architect,’ building a collection of more than 40 structures on the site. The village has continued to evolve as the venue for community events, a living school, and an office research laboratory. Structures added over time include a relocated and restored 1830 schoolhouse, a minimalist dwelling for an architectural apprentice-in-residence, and a new community of dwellings. The resulting village is an expression of utopian architectural ambitions, an optimistic act of will, and a form of resistance in the face of the numbing cultural influence of globalization. It is an argument for landscape stewardship through agricultural and architectural cultivation. The village is a place that expresses the unity of life, integrating practice and teaching, family and community.

The 700-square-foot Enough House is a prototype for minimalist living. Photo James Brittain Photography

:: Jury ::  The jury applauded this lifetime architectural achievement, showing the transformational power of architecture on a site. The quality of the individual buildings adds up to more than the sum of its parts and emphasizes the village quality of the 25-years-plus project. It was also the educational dimension of the project that drew the attention of the jury.

CLIENT Marilyn MacKay-Lyons | ARCHITECT TEAM Brian MacKay-Lyons, Talbot Sweetapple, Shane Andrews, Tyler Reynolds, Miranda Bailey, Matthew Bishop, Matt MacKay-Lyons, Jonny Leger, Peter Broughton, William Green, Matt Malone, Trevor Davies, Peter Blackie, Chad Jamieson, Jesse Hindle, Sava Rostkowska, Tony Patterson, Rob Meyer, Mark Cormier, Bruno Weber, Will Perkins, Izak Bridgman | GHOST ARCHITECTS Bob Benz, Francis Kéré, Rick Joy, Marlon Blackwell, Ted Flato, Peter Stutchbury, Deborah Burke, Juhani Pallasmaa, Wendell Burnette, David Miller | GHOST GUEST CRITICS Kenneth Frampton, Tom Fisher, Robert McCarter, Peter Buchanan, Tom Peters  | GHOST PARTICIPANTS Over 300 individuals | ENGINEERS Michel Comeau, Renee MacKay-Lyons, Blackwell Engineers, Andrea Doncaster | BUILDERS Gordon MacLean, Phil Creaser, Gary Kilgour, Robert Schmeisser, Art Baxter | BUDGET Withheld | OCCUPANCY August 2021

 

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