February 24, 2010
by Canadian Architect
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced George Baird, FRAIC, as the recipient of the 2010 RAIC Gold Medal. Baird is the former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and Professor of Architecture at the University of Toronto, and partner in the Toronto-based architecture and urban design firm Baird Sampson Neuert Architects.
Baird Sampson Neuert is the winner of numerous design awards, including several Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, and Governor General’s Awards for Cloud Gardens Park in 1994 and Erindale Hall on the University of Toronto at Mississauga campus in 2006. Baird is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Architecture and Design Award (1992) and the da Vinci Medal of the Ontario Association of Architects (2000).
Prior to becoming Dean at the University of Toronto in 2004, Baird was the G. Ware Travelstead Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. He has published and lectured widely throughout most parts of the world.
He is co-editor (with Charles Jencks) of Meaning in Architecture (1969), and (with Mark Lewis) of Queues Rendezvous Riots: Questioning the Public in Art and Architecture (1995). He is also the author of Alvar Aalto (1969) as well as The Space of Appearance (1995). Most recently, his research into architectural theory has focused on the question of the political and social status of urban public space, and on debates revolving around the subject of “critical architecture”. In this regard, his essay “Criticality and Its Discontents” was published in the Harvard Design Magazine in Fall 2004, and his subsequent text, “The Criticality Debate: Some Further Thoughts” appeared in the September 2006 issue of T/A Magazine, Shanghai.
The jury commented on their selection of Baird as this year’s Gold Medal recipient: “His scholarship as the author of the critically acclaimed The Space of Appearance, in which he argued for a politically engaged architecture deeply aligned to the public sphere. He has fostered countless cross-border intellectual alliances and – both as a Professor of Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and as Dean of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design – privileged outstanding research and continued building endowment. For decades he has provided significant mentorship for Canada’s most acclaimed architects and thinkers. As a theoretician, competition advisor and master planner, Baird’s work has been critical to the deepening complexity of the Canadian city.”
For more information, please visit http://raic.org/honours_and_awards/honours_gold_medal/medalist_e.htm