April 27, 2010
by Canadian Architect
Raymond Moriyama, who cofounded the firm Moriyama Teshima Architects in 1958, is a hero to many Canadians. His stories of being interned during the Second World War because of his Japanese heritage and his rise to become one of Canada’s most respected architects continue to inspire.
Moriyama has applied his extraordinary vision and understanding to numerous projects including the original Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Ontario Science Centre, Science North, Scarborough Civic Centre, Toronto Reference Library, Bata Shoe Museum, National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, and the new Canadian War Museum in Ottawa that recently received the Governor General’s Medal for Architecture. Such landmark projects consistently earn praise for their intimate relationship to land, nature, and community.
Moriyama has received numerous honours including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal, International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Honourary Fellow of American Institute of Architects, and honourary degrees from 10 universities. He received the Order of Canada, the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan), and was recently promoted a Companion of the Order of Canada in recognition of “…inspiring a new generation of young architects through a significant body of work deemed to be a major contribution to Canadian architecture, and having lasting influence on the theory and/ or the practice of architecture, either through demonstrated excellence in design and/ or excellence in research or education.”
One of the buildings with the greatest impact on Canadian society is the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, which many believe is the culmination of Moriyama’s architectural achievements. The Canadian War Museum and its architecture have had an impact well beyond Ottawa, having inspired a curriculum and resource package for secondary school teachers on architecture, history, and respecting our war veterans. Moriyama’s personal account of the making of the War Museum is his moving book, In Search of a Soul. Sound Venture Productions produced a DVD by the same title and stated that “Raymond Moriyama has created an indelible symbolic experience that can be felt in every corner of this building of war and hope.”
Born in Vancouver and educated in Vancouver, Tokyo, Slocan Valley (Bayfarm) in BC, Ryerson Senior Public School, and Westdale Collegiate in Hamilton, he received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto in 1954 and Master of Architecture degree in Civic and Town Planning from McGill University in 1957. In the spring of 2001, he was elected unanimously the Chancellor of Brock University, the first architect in Canada to receive such an honour.
He and his wife, Sachi, have five grown children – three boys and two girls – two of which are now architects and partners in the firm. Raymond and Sachi are blessed with 10 grandchildren.
For more information, please visit www.jccclegacycampaign.ishare.ca/sakura/honouree.htm