Permanent recognition of architects required on buildings in Toronto

The City of Toronto and the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) have announced that they will be requiring architectural recognition on all buildings over 1,000 square metres in size.

‘Every Building Has an Architect.’  This is a slogan which the RAIC has been promoting for many years, and one which, as the National Director of the RAIC representing Southwest Ontario, I support both personally and professionally,” says Les Klein, founding principal of Quadrangle Architects. “The way that buildings and urban environments are designed has the potential to impact the lives of those who live, work, learn and play in them.  As such, the architects responsible for these designs should be recognized for their contributions.  As another RAIC motto states, ‘Architecture Matters.’

The requirement stems from a 2011 amendment proposed by a Council member on the Planning and Growth Management Committee of the City of Toronto. The amendment cited a number of benefits including public recognition for architects, an opportunity to better engage the public in the debate about architecture, and the economic benefit resulting from architectural tourism. Although the requirement was approved, it has not yet been widely enforced. Now, it will become an integral part of the Site Plan Approval process.

“The City of Toronto continues to experience an unprecedented and sustained amount of new building construction,” wrote Peter Milczyn, MRAIC, in a memorandum to the Planning and Growth Management Committee and Committee Manager. “Little if any public recognition is widely available to recognize who the architects of these buildings are.”

The requirement applies to all new buildings of 1,000 square metres or greater in Gross Floor Area. It asks that they “affix or inscribe the Architect of Record or primary Design Architect on a location near the main entry or prominent façade of the structure; and that the lettering for this recognition cover an area of at least 0.2m by 0.3m, or 0.06 square metres.”

“The City of Toronto’s policy of ensuring that buildings over 1000 square metres include a credit for the architectural firm responsible will have many benefits. Knowing that their names will always be clearly visible, architects will have a further incentive to ‘up their game’ and ensure that they strive for excellence,” says Klein. “They will also have another platform upon which to encourage their clients to recognize the effect that good design can have on the City, the public realm and our society at large, and ask them to take pride in their creations.”

Image courtesy of City of Toronto
Image courtesy of City of Toronto