Governor General’s Medals in Architecture Awards Ceremony
The winners of the 2022 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture were presented with their medals during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Tuesday, January 24.
The winners of the 2022 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture were presented with their medals during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Tuesday, January 24. Her Excellency, Governor General Mary Simon, presented the medals and presided over the event, which was the first in-person Governor General’s Medals in Architecture ceremony since 2018 in Winnipeg, MB.
The public engaged with the presenters during a lecture at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, the evening before the awards ceremony. The Medal recipients spoke about their projects and provided insight to the process and people behind these winning spaces.
The biennial Governor General’s Medals in Architecture celebrate outstanding design in recently completed built projects by Canadian architects. The buildings in the 2022 group of winners range from schools to dialogue centers, water treatment plants, theatres, private homes and cottages—all representing architecture at its best today. These structures embody Canadian values and ideals, showcasing our present understanding of excellence through outstanding design. Since their beginnings as the Massey Medals in the 1950s, each group of award-winning buildings not only illuminates our society’s views of design excellence at a particular time, but collectively point the way towards the future of architecture and architectural culture.
Each of the 2022 recipients reflected on what it means for them to receive their award:
BDP Quadrangle, had this to say about their project, 60_80 Atlantic, an adaptive reuse and expansion of a heritage structure into a mixed-use complex in Toronto, ON:
The symbolism of this award validates our belief in a changing attitude toward the way we treat our cities. 60_80 Atlantic Avenue exists at the intersection of urban design, heritage, resilience, accessibility and architecture. Beginning with reuse and concluding with typological reinvention the project is a statement about how heritage must remain relevant, public realm should evolve, buildings should be for everyone and sustainable building design is embodied as well as operational.
La Shed Architecture reflected on Les Rochers, a home and guest house on the Magdalen Islands, and what it means to receive this honour:
Nous sommes extrêmement fiers d’être pour la première fois récipiendaires d’une médaille du Gouverneur général avec un projet qui nous tient particulièrement à cœur. Il est très gratifiant de pouvoir contribuer au rayonnement de l’architecture canadienne dans un lieu aussi exceptionnel que celui des Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
Nous sommes heureux que le jury reconnaisse la sensibilité que nous avons, dans notre pratique, sur le contexte et l’intégration au paysage. Nous nous réjouissons que la qualité d’un projet résidentiel de petite échelle soit ainsi célébrée.
Merci à l’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada ainsi qu’aux membres du jury pour ce grand honneur.
Cherry Street Stormwater Facility, a joint consortium by gh3* and R.V. Anderson Associates Limited, elevates the role of municipal infrastructure, with this state-of-the-art facility in Toronto, ON:
The Cherry Street Storm Water Facility (CSSWF) tells a story of urban water. The building enclosure references the architecture of a stone well, inverted to manifest as a sculptural form above ground. This modern interpretation of an ancient vernacular is further expressed by etchings in the concrete surface, transformed into a system of rain channels running from roof to wall, to ground plane and into the shaft – a narrative of the larger system of urban hydrology in which the building is embedded. In treating urban stormwater, the facility speaks to a future in which dense urban development and healthy natural ecosystems are integrated and mutually beneficial. CSSWF is part of an emerging new face of Toronto, in which leading environmental performance and award-winning urban development operate together.
The Idea Exchange Old Post Office in Cambridge, ON, by RDHA, transforms the notion of a library and what it can encompass. They describe it as:
A major renovation, restoration and addition to a listed heritage structure located in Cambridge, Ontario. This project adapts an existing building to accommodate Canada’s first bookless library program comprised almost exclusively of creation-based studio spaces for all age groups. This project represents a new library typology, housed within a remarkable historic structure and a transparent contemporary addition that projects the life and vitality of a progressive new library program to the street, the Grand River and the City beyond.
The Brearley School, in New York City, NY, by KPMB Architects, is a space for nurturing and preparing the young girls as leaders of tomorrow. KPMB had this to say about receiving the Medal:
The pandemic exposed inequities everywhere, including for girls and women. More than ever, the world needs educated and empowered women. The Brearley School’s mandate is to educate “girls of adventurous intellect and diverse backgrounds to think critically and prepare them for principled engagement in the world’. The Governor General’s Medal affirms the powerful role that architecture can play in advancing education to cultivate confident, independent girls. Notably, the Governor General’s Medal also affirms the fundamental value of thoughtful, human-centric design. The well-proportioned classrooms, fresh air, windows that open, generously scaled hallways, and integrated stairs made it possible for the Brearley to remain open during the pandemic.
The Reception Pavilion of the Quebec National Assembly, a joint consortium by Provencher_Roy and GLCRM Architectes, in Quebec City, QC, transforms and revitalizes how citizens participate in democracy:
This award recognizes the important role architecture can play in shaping democracy as a tool for creating common ground. The proposed relationship between old and new, landscape and built heritage fabric, the citizens and elected officials represents a bold yet sensitive approach to complex issues of our time. The award reflects the National Assembly’s faith that architecture is a cultural and democratic act which can create inclusive and universal environments while reflecting a unique culture’s vitality.
Ce prix reconnait le rôle important que l’architecture peut jouer dans le façonnement de la démocratie en tant qu’outil permettant de créer un espace commun. La relation proposée entre le passé et l’avenir, le paysage et le patrimoine architectural, les citoyens et les élus représente une approche audacieuse, mais sensible aux questions complexes de notre époque. Le prix reflète la conviction de l’Assemblée nationale que l’architecture est un acte culturel et démocratique qui peut créer des environnements inclusifs et universels tout en reflétant la vitalité d’une culture unique.
Hariri Pontarini Architects had this to say about the Tom Patterson Theatre, in Statford, ON, a space which aims to advance the art and possibility of performance:
The new Tom Patterson Theatre is designed as an “attractor”, creating a home for this much-loved cultural institution, enabling the world-class performances that have inspired audiences over the previous 50+ years, and continuing the legacy of architecture playing a vital role in assisting to propel the institution forward for the next 50 years.
Top of mind was drawing inspiration from the spectacular riverside setting. An undulating, shimmering bronze veil wraps the theatre in petals of warmth and light. Once inside, the curvilinear design creates quiet folds—eddies where one can wait for a loved one, engage in quiet conversation, or savour a contemplative moment sheltered from the current of activity. Set within expansive gardens, the building reaches out, drawing the community in.
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects describes the importance of Village at the End of the World, in Nova Scotia, which began as a design/build laboratory:
This place has been a laboratory for our architectural practice over decades; exploring questions of landscape, climate, material culture, community, and the relationship between tradition and modernity. It is the place that integrates teaching and practice, family and community. It has been the home of ‘ghost’ international design/build program. This is a utopian project, that expresses the agrarian ethic of cultivation.
KMPB Architects spoke about their Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building & Louis A. Simpson International Building, representing a prioritization of regeneration of existing buildings, in Princeton, NJ:
This award recognizes the value in the adaptive reuse of this significant heritage building on Princeton University’s exceptional campus and acknowledges KPMB’s long-held conviction that the retention and reuse of existing buildings are the most responsible sustainable strategies in mitigating climate crisis. The integration of old and new represents a microcosm of the campus, and opens the historic building at grade, animating the public realm. This award reinforces our client’s commitment to long-term planning and the thoughtful stewardship of its campus and our belief that architecture must cultivate an accessible, inspiring, and inclusive learning environment to foster a vibrant academic community. We are delighted that through this award, many lessons in flexible, resilient design will be shared.
Point William Cottage, by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, in Muskoka, ON, is a cottage that considers its interior and exterior spaces and elements, small and large, simultaneously:
A region located on the Canadian Shield, Point William is one of three slender peninsulas jutting into Lake Muskoka with a rich geographic and cultural history. This project begins with architecture and then expands its territory to include landscape, furniture, lighting, hardware and fittings. Design invention, material exploration and delight take place at multiple scales. The scale of a door handle and an architectural section are explored simultaneously. This project is a laboratory for living that result in a rich spatial experience that moves fluidly between interior and exterior spaces while demarcating a place in the Canadian landscape.
Alfred Waugh, principal and founder of Formline Architecture, considers the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, in Vancouver, BC, as a transformative space, allowing for pause, reflection and an embodiment of the reconciliation process:
This award brings dignity and honour to my mother and all those who attended residential schools in Canada. The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is a transformative project that addresses the colonial legacy of residential schools and other policies imposed by the Canadian government on Indigenous Peoples, and ensures that this history is acknowledged, examined and understood within the UBC community. The building reflects the values of indigenous peoples reinforcing our connection to nature. It aims to represent indigenous culture nationally without reflecting any one nation through material symbolism and tectonics. It is an honour to be the first Indigenous architect to receive this award.
Public City Architecture, thinks about their Forest Pavilion, in Winnipeg, MB:
We are thrilled to receive a 2022 Governor General’s Medal for Forest Pavilion. Public architecture has tremendous potential to inspire, no matter how small its budget, program, or footprint. Forest Pavilion is important to us as it represents the culmination of an idea we had six years ago. Architecture and landscape architecture are stronger as one discipline, especially when faced with emerging challenges to economies and ecologies. Despite these challenges, we believe the design of public infrastructures and realms is an opportunity for optimism and joy. And so, we formed Public City. We are grateful for the design advocacy shown by Jason Bell, the client’s project manager, and his tireless support for our team, this project, and the value it serves to the community.
Amanda Shore, OAA, MRAIC is Honours and Awards Manager at the RAIC.
Yesterday, #RideauHall brought together individuals from across the country who share one common passion: design. #GGSimon presented honours for 13 unique designs that have added great richness to our country at the #GGAA's. pic.twitter.com/3f76CKcaK8
— Governor General of Canada (@GGCanada) January 25, 2023
— GG Rideau Hall | GG Citadelle (@RideauHall) January 25, 2023