Montgomery Sisam Architects

Founded in 1978, Montgomery Sisam Architects is a mid-sized Canadian architectural practice wholly owned by its seven principals and based in Toronto, Ontario. Working with a highly collaborative approach, the practice provides clients with a full range of services including master planning, architecture, interior design and urban design. The wide range of project types and scales include health care, infrastructure, educational, recreational and residential projects. The practice is widely recognized for design excellence, exceptional service, responsible budget control and sound project management.

Montgomery Sisam Architects reflects the multicultural nature of Toronto with over 40 staff from 12 countries. This diverse and talented group is noted as the practice’s greatest resource. A majority of the staff are LEED-accredited professionals reflecting the practice’s commitment to “green” design as part of the fundamental principles of good planning and good architecture.

They have developed a strong workplace culture fostered by many innovative initiatives, including a mentoring program where each staff member is assigned a principal to consult with; they formally meet twice a year to discuss professional development goals and opportunities as well as office-related issues.

The office has a volunteer program that supports the special-needs clients they serve. The program allows staff to be involved in community service while also providing the opportunity to become more familiar with the people Montgomery Sisam designs for. 

Montgomery Sisam listens carefully to clients and users to help focus and articulate their needs, creating projects that not only satisfy functional requirements but enhance the activities they house. This collegial team approach starts in the office and helps build strong relationships with clients as well as with authorities, facilities managers, consultants, contractors and others involved in the design and construction process.

They have developed a reputation for design leadership that is supported by over 45 provincial, national and international design awards. These include a Governor General’s Award, eight Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, six Ontario Association of Architects Awards of Excellence, two International Academy of Design and Health Awards, and an International Waterfront Centre Award and an Impact on Learning Award from the Council of Education Facility Planners International.

Jury Comments

The Architectural Firm Award goes to a firm which represents the core of Canadian architectural practice. They are a balanced, well-rounded firm with excellent design and business acumen. Of particular note is the innovative way they have developed employee relations and community programs, thus positioning themselves as an architectural firm with a social conscience.

The architecture of Montgomery Sisam is recognized for its ability to manifest strong and meaningful relationships; it is architecture with a larger social consciousness and sense of responsibility. Montgomery Sisam is recognized for their commitment to creating and nurturing a positive and engaging internal culture to the benefit of their people and their clients–a culture which fosters community, encourages design excellence and innovation, promotes mentorship and professional development, and which values community volunteerism.

The folio put forward by Montgomery Sisam Architects describes a practice that demonstrates cumulative decades of depth, breadth, and richness in an architectural practice. Their tendency to focus on work of social significance, their maintained support for education and development of their employees over a long period of time, and their consistent involvement of both staff and principals in community and professional affairs describes a practice with a vision, purpose and ethic. The resulting work recurrently evidences achievements that are competent, thoughtful, often delightful, and in many cases address programs that are complex and technically challenging.

The RAIC has recognized the service excellence that this Toronto firm has demonstrated, for over 30 years, in every sphere of its practice.

The jury for this award was comprised of George Baird, FRAIC; Richard Young, PP/FRAIC; Alan R. Collyer, FRAIC; Paul Merrick, FRAIC; Sophie Ouimet, La Presse; and Alexander Rankin, FRAIC, Chancellor of the College of Fellows and Jury Chair.