Elizabeth Paden wins the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners

McGill University School of Architecture graduate Elizabeth Paden is the winner of the Canada Council for the study the impact that large-scale public buildings can have on territorial boundaries within geopolitical regions.


This $34,000 Prix de Rome is awarded to a recent graduate of one of Canada’s ten accredited schools of architecture who demonstrates outstanding potential. The prizewinner is given the opportunity to visit significant architectural sites abroad, and to intern at an architecture firm of international stature.


Over the next year, Paden will travel to three regions that offer insight into the humanity of architecture, including The Ghetto (suburbs of Paris), The Colony (boundary between Israel and the West Bank) and The Fringe (Euro-Arctic boundaries of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). She hopes these studies of responsive social design will inform the Canadian architectural process for peripheral Aboriginal communities and enrich cultural exchange between communities. Paden’s internship will be with 0047 in Oslo, Norway. Together, they will develop a collaborative public exhibition to be showcased in Canada.


Paden was selected by an assessment committee consisting of architects Susan Herrington (Vancouver), Todd Emel (Saskatoon), Marie-Josée Therrien (Toronto) and Terrence Smith-Lamothe (Halifax).


Paden’s submission impressed the committee, who were “drawn to the manner in which she proposes to investigate the challenging theme of boundary through a thoughtful selection of diverse existing architectural interpretations and then relates them back to a specific Canadian condition.”


Originally from Sudbury, Elizabeth Paden graduated from McGill University in Montreal and holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master of Architecture. Her interest in territorial architecture is rooted in her Northern Ontario upbringing, where she developed an interest in the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal space. In her master’s thesis, Paden worked closely with the Mohawk First Nations community of Kahnawá:ke in exploring how land claim disputes could be negotiated by a built intermediary as a form of poetic justice, urban potential, and transnational infrastructure.


In 2009, Paden was awarded the Student Medal from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Medal, and the A.F. Dunlop Travelling Scholarship, which will fund research travel to Nunavut in August 2010. Paden currently resides in Toronto, where she works with Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.