2024 RAIC Architectural Journalism and Media Award: The Edit

The Site magazine’s most ambitious publication to date examines designers’ roles in actively editing our built environment—and the resulting impact on the equitability of our public spaces.

Winner of a 2024 RAIC Architectural Journalism and Media Award

Kathleen Fu’s cover artwork, developed as part of her work with the University of Waterloo School of Architecture’s Humanics Lab, explores how a high-rise tower corridor could be retrofit to facilitate a supportive social network among aging residents.


Founded in 2015, The Site Magazine is an independent journal created by a collective of registered Canadian architects, researchers, and educators driven by a shared commitment and passion for fostering discourse as a way of progressing community and practice. The Site publishes thematic issues that address diverse topics pertaining to our built environment. Through a range of writing types, design projects, and visual formats, each issue advocates for a critical consideration of the layered relations of our built environment, posed from varied perspectives, including the cultural, political, formal, social, and ecological.

The Edit—The Site Magazine’s most ambitious publication to date—is an active retelling of the built environment in its content, graphics, and editorial direction. The Site’s open call sought to address cities as artifacts of colonial and corporate expansion, and to dismantle the tectonics of inequality. It asked: Who are public spaces for? What underlying assumptions are enmeshed in the fabric of our everyday surroundings? More importantly, the call asked: Which design tools might destabilize structural inequality? 

“Editing is a human exercise in representation, something we all do in order to craft a perceived, ideal outcome,” writes editorial lead Amrit Phull. “We edit our thoughts before speaking them aloud, just as we edit our digital profiles, social networks, and physical environments to reflect our needs and aspirations. Cities are in a continual state of erasure and reconstruction; nations are built upon places and peoples renamed, restructured, or removed. History is renegotiated and reforged in aeternum. At any scale and in any moment, we are mutually enmeshed in the constant, complex process of the edit.”

“Each page in the publication was the result of considered curatorial decisions around what gets to be included, how it is shown, what is left out, and how to question the editorial team’s own ways of seeing,” write the editorial team, which also included Miriam Ho, Ruth Jones, and Aisling O’Carroll. “The built environment is never apolitical, and design can ensure that public space is not a monolith.” 

A workbook by Amrit Phull, Srishti Bose and Cara Michell frames the issue, prompting readers to identify gaps in collective records and reframe the systems we operate in. The issue was designed by Carey van der Zalm, with cover art by Kathleen Fu. It includes texts, artworks, and architectural research by Aytak Dibavar, Jishnu Bandyopadhyay, Biko Mandela Gray, Linda Zhang, Taryn Wiens, Lan Florence Yee, Traumnovelle, WAI Architecture Think Tank, Amina Lalor, Danielle Desjarlais, Reanna Merasty, Naomi Ratte, Desiree Thériault, Sunita Nigam, Humanics Lab, Openlab, and Sarah Deyong. The Site is published by Nicky Bruun-Meyer and Michael Robert Taylor.

Jury Comment :: The Edit examines the power dynamics within the built environment and provides critiques of the inequalities embedded in our world. It presents an encompassing perspective of today’s political, cultural, and social views and challenges, intertwined with carefully curated architectural topics. 

It calls for change and promotes architecture through a critical lens, offering a well-executed take on issues impacting design.

The essays present emerging ideas with significant impact on the built environment and provide much-needed critical dialogue. They highlight the roots of colonialism, racism, and capitalism and encourage us to imagine and create alternative practices that rebuild our world in better ways.

As appeared in the May 2024 issue of Canadian Architect magazine