January 11, 2006
by Canadian Architect
The end of 2005 marks the official retirement of Michael McMordie as a distinguished professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. Professor McMordie graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto in 1962, and received a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 1972. His doctoral work comprised an historical and critical study of important sources of modern architectural theory. He was a faculty member at the University of Edinburgh from 1965 until 1974, the year he joined the Faculty of Environmental Design. McMordie has taught architectural history and theory in both Edinburgh and Calgary, acted as a studio instructor and supervised the work of graduate students in a number of areas. Research interests and writing include architectural history and theory, aesthetics, urbanism, and cultural and national identity. Professor McMordie has written contributions to the Canadian Encyclopedia, along with many essays and papers on a range of topics.
Professor McMordie was centrally involved in the development and funding of the Canadian Architectural Archives at the University of Calgary. The collection, of national importance, houses the documents of many important Canadian architects and their firms including: Ron Thom, Arthur Erickson, Douglas Cardinal, Jack Long, Gordon Atkins, Raymond Moriyama, John and Patricia Patkau, and Jack Diamond.
Professor McMordie took on a number of administrative assignments during his career including: Director of the Architecture Program (1979-82), Dean of the Faculty of General Studies (1990-98), and Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (1999-2005). In addition to service on many university committees and boards, and important area of interest has been architectural and urban conservation. Local and national activities beyond the university have included ongoing involvement in the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada where he served as president from 1977-80, and the Calgary Civic Trust where he was president from 1999-2003. His contributions to the preservation of Canadian architectural heritage were recognized by the award of the Heritage Canada Foundation Gabrielle Leger Medal in 2002 and in 2003 a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.
Professor McMordie’s legacy to the study of architecture at the University of Calgary, and locally, provincially and nationally, is substantial and wide-ranging. He has brought erudition and a gentlemanly quality to all his many activities, and he is widely admired for his thoughtfulness, insight and dedication. A symposium is currently being planned for the Fall 2006 to recognize the many significant contributions made to the study and preservation of Canadian architecture by Michael McMordie.
Graham Livesey, Associate AAA, MRAIC
Director, Architecture Program