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Prix du XXe Sicle honours enduring excellence in Canadian architecture


April 16, 2013
by Canadian Architect

RAIC | Architecture Canada, in partnership with the Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF), is honouring two iconic post-secondary buildings with its Prix du XXe Siècle for their enduring excellence and the mark they leave as nationally significant architecture. This year’s recipients are the Grande Prairie Regional College and Massey College.

Grande Prairie Regional College (1974) is an early representative work of Douglas Cardinal, FRAIC. When it opened, it was one of only three Canadian post-secondary institutions north of 55 degrees latitude. Cardinal – a young, maverick architect at the time – blended his structure into the landscape, to achieve a striking aesthetic, both outside and inside. Today, this instantly recognizable structure is a place where people come together to learn, create, and celebrate culture.

According to the jury, Cardinal helped build a sense of community in Northern Alberta: “His highly individual approach shaped a building that has become a regional landmark. It is valued highly by the College as a working environment and an embodiment of a distinctive understanding of place and people.”

Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, University of Toronto’s Massey College (1963), designed by renowned Canadian architect Ron Thom, FRAIC, responds to its architectural context while breaking with trends of the day by folding together several historical forms. It set a stunning precedent in design trends in Canada and internationally.

“Massey College is a skillful and humane interpretation of Arts and Crafts sensibilities in a Modernist idiom,” the jury stated. “It has aged well and is one of the University of Toronto’s most treasured modern buildings.”

Barry Johns, FRAIC, RAIC College of Fellows Chancellor said that “these iconic buildings have stood the test of time and become national landmarks. They demonstrate that architecture matters and are a testament to how architecture can add quality of life to society.”

This award, created in 2007 to mark the 100th anniversary the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, recognizes the enduring excellence of nationally significant architecture. It can be presented to a building in Canada, designed by an architect from any country, or a building anywhere designed by a Canadian architect.

The jury, chosen by the National Committee of the College of Fellows from distinguished scholars and members of the profession, was comprised of: Susan Ross MRAIC, Julian Smith, Michael McMordie and Natalie Bull (Professional Advisor).

The Prix du XXe Siècle will be awarded during the Presidents’ Dinner & Awards Gala on Friday, June 7th at 6:30pm during the 2013 RAIC-NSAA Festival of Architecture taking place from June 5-8, 2013 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a nationally registered charity dedicated to the preservation of Canada’s historic places.

RAIC is a voluntary national association established in 1907 as the voice for architecture and its practice in Canada. Representing more than 4,600 members, the RAIC works: to affirm that architecture matters; to celebrate the richness and diversity of architecture in Canada; and to support architects in achieving excellence.

For more information, please visit www.raic.org.


massey college at the university of toronto by ron thom. photo courtesy of ERA architects.
massey college at the university of toronto by ron thom. photo courtesy of ERA architects.


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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