March 10, 2011
by Canadian Architect
Architecture Canada | RAIC is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2011 RAIC Gold Medal is Bing Thom, FRAIC.
Thom has built a global reputation for innovative design on a wide range of projects ranging from single-family homes to large-scale mixed-use projects and city building, always balancing a delight in form-making with a commitment to shaping artful, involving, democratic public spaces. Prior to opening his own practice in 1982, Mr. Thom worked in the offices of Fumihiko Maki and Arthur Erickson, whose passions and drive for excellence deeply influenced his career.
Among Thom’s successes are the master plans for the City of Dalian and the City of Yuxi in China; Surrey Central City; the Canada Pavilion for Expo ’92, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC; Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC; the Pacific Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre; the Trinity Uptown Plan for Fort Worth, Texas; Vancouver’s Sunset Community Centre; and the recently completed Arena Stage theatre complex in Washington, DC.
Thom has represented Canada on the world stage through numerous expositions and competitions and is a respected and outspoken advocate for urban and social change. He is an active volunteer and donates countless hours and resources to community initiatives.
In choosing to make this award, the Gold Medal Selection Committee noted “Bing Thom’s architecture consistently and skillfully balances the art of form-making with an overarching capacity to create meaningful and sustainable “community.” It is an architecture that has the capacity to engage and inspire, to create community. It is transformative in the sense that it looks beyond program and site – it is an architecture which engages the broader urban, social and economic opportunity.”
His preference is clearly to build, however, teaching and research are very much at the core of his practice. Thom’s studio is a laboratory of exploration into new materials and techniques. In the tradition of the “master builder,” Thom’s work is characterized by close collaboration with trades and industry, breaking down the isolation that often exists between design and construction and developing innovative and cost effective solutions to unusual building configurations.
Thom’s talent and service has been recognized by a range of honours including the Order of Canada, the Golden Jubilee Medal, honourary degrees from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, and an honourary professorship from Tongji University in Shanghai. Most recently, his firm received the RAIC 2010 Firm Award.
The RAIC Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of significant contribution to Canadian architecture, and is the highest honour the profession of architecture in Canada can bestow. It recognizes an individual whose personal work has demonstrated exceptional excellence in the design and practice of architecture; and/or, whose work related to architecture, has demonstrated exceptional excellence in research or education.
As part of this recognition, Bing Thom, FRAIC will be speaking at the RAIC Gold Medallist Lunch on Friday, May 27, 2011 from 12:00 to 1:30 pm during the 2011 AIBC – Architecture Canada | RAIC Festival of Architecture taking May 24-27, 2011 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.