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CCA presents new exhibition celebrating life and work of Phyllis Lambert


January 25, 2017
by Canadian Architect

Phyllis Lambert, architect and CCA Founding Director Emeritus © CCA

Phyllis Lambert, architect and CCA Founding Director Emeritus © CCA

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents Phyllis Lambert: 75 Years At Work highlighting her deep commitment towards the city and the built environment and to intellectual research. From now until June 4, 2017, the CCA’s exhibition tells the story of her ideas and her architectural, curatorial and editorial work, with material drawn from the CCA Collection, its institutional archives, and the Phyllis Lambert fonds.

Lambert herself curates the exhibition, and the materials she has chosen give a chronological account of the great chapters and discoveries of her life: Her early work, the Seagram building, her architectural education and first steps in that profession, the Saidye Bronfman Centre project, photography missions, and conservation and restoration projects, both in Montreal and abroad, leading to the creation of the CCA. The selected archival material will reveal, through a series of case studies in chronological order, the constant radicalism of her life.

Known worldwide as an architect, author, researcher, lecturer, curator, architecture critic, patron of heritage, engaged citizen, activist, and founder of the CCA, Phyllis Lambert is constant in her insistence that “You must build things that express the best qualities of the society in which you live.”

Phyllis Lambert received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Jury president Paolo Baratta delivered a stirring homage on that occasion: “Phyllis Lambert has made a tremendous contribution to architecture. Without her work, one of the most perfect architectural projects of the 20th century—the Seagram Building in New York City— would never have seen the light of day. The founding of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, dedicated to preserving the most important periods of architectural heritage and encouraging their study in the most ideal conditions reveals an extraordinary vision and a rare generosity.” Head juror Rem Koolhaas added, “Architects make buildings—but Phyllis Lambert makes architects.”

Phyllis Lambert: 75 Years At Work follows the 2007 exhibition Happy Birthday, which also celebrated Phyllis Lambert’s character and vision with a selection of unique and unusual pieces drawn from the CCA Collection. Together, these two exhibitions illustrate Lambert’s exceptional life and career, marked by innumerable prizes and distinctions for her contributions to architecture, conservation, and philanthropy.