Innovative young architect wins the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture

The Canada Council for the Arts has awarded the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture to Eric Bunge of nARCHITECTS. Thanks to the prize, Mr. Bunge, originally from Montreal and now working in New York, will be able to study the way in which different cultures have invented architectural devices to control heat and light in buildings. Mr. Bunge and his partner, Mimi Hoang, will travel to countries in four distinct climates, including Brazil, Japan, China, Morocco and Finland.

The Canada Council’s Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture is valued at $50,000 and encourages the development of artistic excellence in contemporary architectural practice. It will allow Mr. Bunge and Ms. Hoang to document and learn from the way in which cultures in different climates have used such architectural devices as skylights, sunshades, screens, walls and roofs to control light and heat. Their focus will be in part technical and historical, but will predominantly consider the way in which these inventions could be instrumental in defining radical formal, organizational and tectonic possibilities for an imaginative contemporary architectural practice.

Media and the public are invited to attend the reception for the Prix de Rome which will be held on Friday, September 30 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Redpath Museum at McGill University.

Eric Bunge was chosen by a peer assessment committee made up of Serge Belet (Montreal), Ian Chodikoff (Toronto), Peter Oberlander (Vancouver), Talbot Sweetapple (Newport, Nova Scotia) and Anna Monique West (Calgary).

Eric Bunge, AIA (member of the American Institute of Architects), was born in 1967 in Montreal. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University (1991) and a Masters of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (1996). Mr. Bunge is graduate thesis director at the Parsons School of Design, and is a visiting professor in the Urban Design Department at the University of Toronto (Fall 2005). He currently lives in New York.

The group nARCHITECTS takes its name from the mathematical variable "n", a quantity which has infinite possibilities. Its New York-based office was formed in 1999 by Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang. nARCHITECTS’ work focuses on generating new design concepts and techniques for building. Their goal is to achieve maximum effect with an economy of conceptual and material means, while having a positive impact on the environment. This dual interest in the conceptual and material allows them to challenge preconceived notions of program, type and site. The firm periodically develops new fabrication methods and builds their own projects, in addition to working on commissions for residential and institutional clients. This approach has informed their body of both built and unbuilt work in projects such as Canopy, a 30,000-square-foot green bamboo structure containing four distinct environments, which they built in the MoMA/ P.S.1 courtyard in2004. Other recent projects include Party Wall, an interactive foam wall for Artists Space, and Switch Building a seven-storey building under construction in Manhattan.

nARCHITECTS was selected by Architectural Record Magazine as one of 11 “Design Vanguard” architects in 2004. Mr. Bunge and Ms. Hoang won the 5th annual MoMA/ P.S.1 Young Architects Program 2004, were awarded the Architectural League of New York’s Young Architects Forum Prize in 2001 and also received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 2002. nARCHITECTS has exhibited at ArchiLab 2002, Orlans, France (representing Canada/US), the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, MoMA QNS, the Municipal Ottawa Art Gallery, the Kunstwerke in Berlin, and various universities. Their work can be seen on their website at

The $50,000 Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture is awarded annually to an architect or practitioner of architecture, an architecture firm or an architectural design firm that has completed its first buildings and demonstrated an exceptional artistic potential. The prize allows the laureates to travel around the world to hone their skills, develop their creative practice and strengthen their presence in international architecture culture. Applicants must define destinations and activities that will best support the development and recognition of their practice. Proposed activities can include visits to outstanding buildings, participation in biennales, conferences, colloquia, competitions and architecture workshops, and meetings with editors, critics and curators of architecture. The project can involve multiple trips to a number of destinations, spread over a two-year period.

The Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture is one of several initiatives of the Canada Council for the Arts which contribute to the development of Canadian architecture. The Canada Council provides grants in architecture with a view to enhance public awareness and enjoyment of architecture. For more information on these programs, contact Brigitte Desrochers, Architecture Officer at the Canada Council, (613) 566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588 x5109, or by e-mail at