Brian MacKay-Lyons awarded a RIBA International Fellowship

brian mackay-lyons
brian mackay-lyons
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that it is awarding an 2016 International Fellowship to Canadian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons. RIBA International Fellowships reward the particular contributions non-UK architects have made to architecture.

Brian MacKay-Lyons on an Atlantic coast beach
Brian MacKay-Lyons on an Atlantic coast beach

The citation for the award reads:

“The work of the Canadian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons is typified by his houses on the coast of his native Nova Scotia and his use of Atlantic Canadian vernacular materials and construction techniques. His work was always strongly influenced by the region’s maritime landscape, architecture and functionalist design.

He studied architecture at the Technical University of Nova Scotia (graduating 1978) and received his Master’s in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also studied and worked in China, Japan and Siena, Italy. In 1983, MacKay-Lyons returned to Nova Scotia to work on vernacular designs and teach at Dalhousie University, where he holds a full professorship in architecture. He founded his own practice in Halifax in 1985 and in 2005 this became MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd after he partnered with Talbot Sweetapple. He has also held numerous visiting academic positions at universities in the USA, Canada and Germany. He is a five-time winner of the Governor General’s Medal for architecture, fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In 2015 he won the RAIC Gold Medal, which recognizes a significant and lasting contribution to Canadian architecture. The jury said, ‘His work is universally recognized as pure, dignified, poetic and beautiful. It comes from an intimate connection with his communities.’

Best known for his beach houses, MacKay-Lyons has increasingly undertaken a number of larger public commissions since the late 1990s, including the Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science (1999), Ship’s Company Theatre, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia (2004) and the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2005).

His work has been featured in more than 330 publications, including six monographs: Seven Stories from a Village Architect (1996); Brian MacKay-Lyons: Selected Works 1986-1997 (1998); Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons (2005); Ghost: Building an Architectural Vision (2008); Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft, and Community (2014); and the upcoming publication Economy as Ethic: The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.”

A view of Shobac, with Troop Barn, Schoolhouse and Ghost 6 Tower. Photo by William Green
A view of Shobac, with Troop Barn, Schoolhouse and Ghost 6 Tower. Photo by William Green

The RIBA’s other 2016 International Fellowships are:

·        Kees Christiaanse – KCAP, Netherlands

·        Mario Cucinella – MC Architects, Italy

·        Bjarke Ingels – BIG, Denmark

·        Rick Joy – Rick Joy Architects, USA

·        Peter Märkli – Studio Märkli, Switzerland

·        Peter Stutchbury – Peter Stutchbury Architecture, Australia

·        José Antonio Martínez Lapeña & Elias Torres – Spain

The 2015 RIBA Honours Committee who selected the 2016 Fellows was chaired by RIBA President Jane Duncan with Sir Peter Cook, Neil Gillespie OBE, Victoria Thornton OBE and the 2015 Royal Gold Medallist, John Tuomey.

The lifetime honour allows individual recipients to use the initials Int FRIBA after their name.

The 2016 RIBA International Fellowships will be presented at a special event at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, on February 1 2016.