Canadian Architect


Larry Wayne Richards

RAIC Awards--Advocate Award

May 1, 2007
by Canadian Architect

For three decades, Larry Richards has promoted the development of architecture in Canada. He has had a major role in architectural design competitions and the realization of significant buildings, worked to further heritage conservation, mounted numerous exhibitions, written extensively on architecture and urbanism, and has had key roles in the evolution of three schools of architecture. He has been a constant advocate for a generation of broadly based architectural culture in Canada.

Serving on more than 25 committees and juries for the selection of architects, Richards has played a prominent part in the realization of several important and high-profile projects in Canada: the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo by Patkau Architects; Trent University Earth Sciences Building by Henriquez Partners Architects; BCE Place Galleria in Toronto by Santiago Calatrava; and numerous buildings at the University of Toronto including New College by Saucier + Perrotte, Graduate House by Morphosis/ Teeple, and the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research by Behnisch/architectsAlliance.

Since 1975, Richards has curated more than 20 exhibitions on architecture, including CCA: Buildings and Gardens which opened the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 1988-89, and Patkau + 16 which followed two years later. At the University of Toronto, he was instrumental in creating the Eric Arthur Gallery which he continues to coordinate. Here, he has curated shows on Saucier + Perrotte and Norman Foster, and last summer, the travelling exhibition entitled Frank’s Drawings: Eight Museums by Gehry.

Complementing his curatorial activities, Richards continues to be widely published in countless international architectural publications including DOMUS, Canadian Architect, Architecture New York, and The Globe and Mail, and has contributed essays to such publications as the AGO-published Frank Gehry: Toronto. He has served on numerous editorial boards, and is currently writing a 250-page architectural guidebook on the University of Toronto campuses for Princeton Architectural Press.

As an administrator and a teacher, Richards has had primary roles in the development of three schools of architecture: the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie University), the University of Waterloo, and the University of Toronto. During his tenure at each institution, Richards led the implementation of specialized courses and integrated masters programs, and was responsible for the establishment of two respected international lecture series. His strong leadership skills have translated into successful fundraising campaigns, raising the profile and emphasizing the critical importance of architecture and design in this country.

Jury Comments

Larry Wayne Richards provides eloquent evidence of what a true advocate for architecture can be. Polymath, professional and perfectionist, he uses all his experience and personality to help forward the cause of the beautiful, the useful and the meaningful. He has taught architecture and he has explained what it means to the wider world. The nature of his interventions is caring and the value behind them benevolent. Canada is richer for his interventions.–The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Hon. FRAIC

For me, Mr. Richard’s life work in architecture exemplifies the principle of advocacy across the fullest spectrum of our profession. For three decades, Larry Richards has been instrumental in shaping architectural education at leading Canadian universities. As a published author, he has written extensively on architecture and urbanism. His work in curating over 20 exhibitions on architects and architecture has served to bring these works into the wider public realm, thereby heightening public awareness. Mr. Richards has served on numerous boards, juries and committees tasked with the selection of architects for many prominent buildings, thereby raising awareness of the profession. Any single aspect of Mr. Richard’s energetic involvement in his profession speaks clearly of his passion and dedication; taken together, the full sweep of his endeavours to promote architecture and engage the public in architectural discourse marks an exemplary advocate. —Gaye Kapkin, MRAIC

In a society that so often emphasizes economic development at any price, the need to defend the quality of the built environment is more important than ever. The career of Larry Wayne Richards is an inspiring one that calls on architectural professionals to think about the active role they must all play. His involvement in promoting architecture takes on even greater significance given his activity in so many areas of the profession, as an educator, administrator and writer. In short, a remarkable career, and a unique and impressive contribution that deserves recognition.–Michel Dubuc, FIRAC

Canadian Architect

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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