Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. a recipient of the 2004 Business Week / Architectural Record Award

Toronto’s Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. have been awarded a Business Week / Architectural Record (BW/AR) award for their Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, designed with Kolker, Kolker Epstein Architects of Jerusalem.

The 430,000-square-foot facility was designed to accommodate administrative and state ceremonial requirements services which were formerly scattered in a series of single-storey huts. The Foreign Ministry wanted the building to exude a stately and ceremonial function, yet also be a symbol of secure office design in the Middle East. Despite the fundamental need for security, the building achieves a sense of openness and transparency, while distinguishing itself as an elegant and dignified state building.

Jury comments include the following: "The Israeli Foreign Ministry was a kind of paradigm jump in the quality of government buildings in relationship to Israel as compared to any international standardsone of the things that impressed me is how very demanding security issues were integrated into the architecture so they either became environmental assets or invisible. It’s a model of how security can be achieved. There’s also a sense of ritual in the building that has to do with its ceremonial function as a foreign ministry. It’s actually a luxurious and very well-crafted building."

Given annually, the BW/AR Awards honour architects and clients who best utilize good design to achieve important objectives for organizations such as marketing products and services, attracting and maintaining a high-quality student body or workforce, improving the health and welfare of employees, and uplifting the immediate environment. This year, the recipients largely represented the cultural and governmental sectors.

The BW/AR Awards, now in its eighth year, is sponsored by the AIA, in conjunction with Architectural Record and Business Week, both publications of the McGraw-Hill Companies. This year’s recipients consist of three government facilities, five cultural/educational projects, and two aid organizations. They range from a community center in LA’s Skid Row to an iron studio in rural North Carolina, from a martial arts facility in Japan to the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, but at the core they all share one attribute they understand how good design can achieve important organizational objectives.

The projects were evaluated by a jury of ten consisting of prominent architects, design professionals and business leaders, including Moshe Safdie, FAIA, Principal of Moshe Safdie and Associates, and Marianne McKenna, FRAIC, Principal of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. The jury looked for a high degree of collaboration between architect and client, the contribution of design to the project’s success, the quality of the architectural design solution, and measured indicators of success.

McGraw-Hill Companies will honour the recipients at a luncheon on Monday, November 15 at the McGraw-Hil Building in New York City. Additionally, the winning projects are profiled in the November 1, 2004 issue of Business Week and the November issue of Architectural Record.