Canadian Architect

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John And Patricia Patkau–Patkau Architects

RAIC Awards-- Gold Medal

May 1, 2009
by Canadian Architect

Patkau Architects was founded in 1978. In over 25 years of practice, both in Canada and in the United States, the firm has been responsible for the design of a wide variety of building types for a diverse range of clients. Projects have varied in scale from gallery installations to urban planning, and have included houses, libraries, art galleries, schools, community centres, and university buildings. Many projects have involved facilities programming, management of detailed public processes, and the design of complex buildings and sites.

Patkau Architects has received significant national and international design awards for a wide variety of building types, including 10 Governor General’s Medals, four Progressive Architecture Awards, 13 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, and a Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence, as well as two American Institute of Architects Honor Awards.

The firm has won a number of design competitions including the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario; the Nursing and Biomedical Sciences Building for the Health Science Center at the University of Texas in Houston; College Housing for the University of Pennsylvania; the Grande Bibliothque du Qubec, a new central library for the province of Quebec; and a major addition to the Winnipeg Public Library.

The work of Patkau Architects has been published and exhibited widely. Over 200 articles in books and professional journals, and three books dedicated exclusively to the firm’s work have been published. The work has also been exhibited in numerous exhibitions, including 20 solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1996, Patkau Architects represented Canada at the Venice Biennale.

In addition to practice, Patricia Patkau has taught, lectured and been a guest critic at numerous universities in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1995, John and Patricia Patkau were jointly Eliot Noyes Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; and in 1998, they were jointly Raymond E. Moritz Distinguished Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

John Patkau was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1947, and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Master of Architecture degree in 1972. A LEED-accredited professional, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Patricia Patkau was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1950. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Interior Design degree in 1974 and from Yale University with a Master of Architecture in 1978. She is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, and a Member of the Order of Canada. She is currently a Professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia.

Jury Comments

The Patkaus are uncompromising in their work, creating architecture that matters. Internationally recognized, they are ambassadors of the best of West Coast and Canadian architecture. There is a uniquely northern aspiration to their work which is expressed in light and space, and experiencing their buildings changes one from an observer to an engaged participant in the architecture. As such, the firm’s work fulfills the dream that ordinary people have about architecture: that life can be more whole, more harmonious, more liveable because such buildings exist. The Patkaus’ practice successfully demonstrates that creative collaboration is the fundamental element of architectural excellence, and John and Patricia’s work as architects and teachers has inspired generations of aspiring architects across Canada.

Selected Projects

1978 Galleria Condominium, Edmonton, Alberta
Progressive Architecture Award, 1981
1982 Research Office, Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, Alberta
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1984
1983 Pyrch House, Victoria, British Columbia
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1984; Governor General’s Medal, 1986
1985 Porter/Vandenbosch Renovation, Toronto, Ontario
Governor General’s Medal, 1990
1985 Appleton House, Victoria, British Columbia
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1986; Governor General’s Medal, 1990
1986 Kustin House, Los Angeles, California
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1987
1988 Seabird Island School, Agassiz, British Columbia
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1989; Governor General’s Medal, 1992; Canadian Wood Council Honour Award, 1992
1988 Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1990; Governor General’s Medal, 1997
1990 Newton Library, Surrey, British Columbia
Canadian Wood Council Award, 1994; Governor General’s Medal, 1994
1991 Barnes House, Nanaimo, British Columbia
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1992; Progressive Architecture Award 1993; Governor General’s Medal, 1997
1992 Strawberry Vale School, Victoria, British Columbia
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1994; Progressive Architecture Award 1995; Governor General’s Medal, 2002
1995 Shaw House, Vancouver, British Columbia
Record House Award, 2002; Governor General’s Medal, 2004; American Institute of Architects Honor Award, 2005
1996 Agosta House, San Juan Island, Washington
Governor General’s Medal, 2004; American Institute of Architects Honor Award, 2005
1996 Nursing and Biomedical Sciences Building, University of Texas, Houston, Texas
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 1998; Progressive Architecture Award, 1999
1998 La Petite Maison du Weekend, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio
RAIC Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence, 2001
2000 La Grande Bibliothque du Qubec, Montreal, Quebec
2002 Winnipeg Centennial Library Addition, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 2004
2002 Centre for Music, Art and Design, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 2005
2004 New College Student Residence, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, 2004




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Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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