Alain Fournier Receives the 2022 Ernest-Cormier Prize

EVOQ Architecture announced that Alain Fournier is the recipient of the 2022 Ernest-Cormier Prize. Alain is being recognized for his outstanding achievement in the field of architecture, defined by far more than just a built legacy.

Alain Fournier
Photo credit: EVOQ; Artwork by Tim Pitsiulak

Ka-Minuenimunanut Centre
Photo credit: EVOQ

His work is distinguished by an exceptional commitment to Canada’s First Nations and Inuit, and his tireless efforts to shine light upon, and celebrate, the cultures, traditions, viewpoints, and aspirations of communities that have been marginalized for far too long.

Over and above his architectural practice, Alain has been a sought-after speaker, facilitator, and teacher, and has served as a board member at several organizations, and as president of the Association des Architectes en pratique privée du Québec. These, along with his volunteer commitments and his appearances as a guest witness in several parliamentary commissions, have come to define his thoughtful and committed activism.

Photo credit: Jeff MacNeill

“To me, this award is one more step on the road toward the resurgence and recognition of Indigenous cultures. I humbly thank all the Indigenous communities of Quebec and Canada that welcomed me into their midst over the years with open arms. I also wish to thank the members of my team; without them none of this would have been possible,” says Alain Fournier.

The Ernest Cormier Prize, awarded by the Government of Quebec, honours Quebec architects and designers for their lifetime achievements. This award is the highest distinction given to Quebec creators in the fields of architecture and design.

The defining feature of Alain’s work has been his willingness to break away from the rigid framework of an architect’s role. Driven by a deep sensitivity to culture, and a unique and inspired activism, Alain developed a profoundly human approach to architecture, rather than a signature style. This approach gives a voice to Indigenous communities to translate their vision of the world into architecture, making it a vehicle for their emancipation as they assert themselves, reinvent themselves, and celebrate their cultures.

Inuit IQ Exhibition at La Guilde
Photo credit: EVOQ

Alain has contributed to the engagement of future generations thanks to a dedicated team that he has cultivated and mentored over the years at EVOQ Architecture. He also shares his approach with architecture students at several universities.

At the Université de Montréal, Alain teaches workshops where he leverages his extensive network to initiate encounters with Indigenous communities through fieldtrips and workshops with community representatives, putting students in direct contact with the cultural realities of Inuit and First Nations communities.

Through this outreach, he seeks to raise awareness among emerging architects, change their perceptions of the role of an architect, and open them up to the potential of their profession to be a vehicle for change. This will be Alain’s most important and most enduring legacy.