Moriyama RAIC International Prize sculpture unveiled

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the RAIC Foundation recently unveiled the sculpture that will accompany the inaugural $100,000 Moriyama RAIC International Prize.

The sculpture by Canadian designer Wei Yew, together with a cheque for CAD $100,000, will be presented to the winner of the Moriyama RAIC International Prize at a gala event at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto on October 11, 2014.

The prize will be awarded to an architect, team of architects, or architect-led collaboration from anywhere in the world for a single work of architecture that transforms society by furthering humanistic values of justice, respect, equality and inclusiveness.

Designer Wei Yew first met the prize’s co-founder, Raymond Moriyama, FRAIC, two years ago to begin the design of the sculpture. The Moriyama RAIC International Prize sculpture is meticulously carved from four blocks of crystal acrylic. It stands 30 centimetres tall and weighs six kilograms.

The sculpture’s form derives from the two Japanese characters for Moriyama’s name, which means “forest-mountain” in Japanese. Yew was also inspired by the trees and mountains of the Canadian landscape and the shape of the letter “M” for Moriyama. After much refinement, the final piece is both architectural and sculptural, and redolent with visual metaphors.

“Its quiet elegance is indicative of the qualities of humanity and humility prized by Raymond Moriyama,” says Wei Yew.

“The apexes of the four pyramids radiate energy, transforming these elements into mountains of ice, crystal or rock – a truly majestic Canadian landscape. The intersection of the four pyramids is a visual metaphor for convergence – the meeting of international talent with the spirit of working together for the greater good.”

Barry Johns, Chancellor of the College of Fellows of the RAIC, was involved in the decision to commission Yew to design the prize sculpture. “The depth of light and crystalline reflections that we see in this unique sculpture embodies for me the best of our rugged Canadian landscape and skies,” says Johns.

“Wei is a celebrated designer who has worked globally from Edmonton on projects as small as a corporate logo to an entire arts program for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This sculpture is his passionate contribution to the Moriyama RAIC International Prize. It is infused with joy.”

Wei Yew practised graphic design in Singapore before emigrating to Canada in 1976 and founding his firm, Wei Yew &Co. Among the many design projects to his credit are the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, the 1988 Olympic Winter Games Arts Festival and the branding of the Association for the Export of Canadian Books. He has designed logos for EPCOR, Syncrude Canada, The Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Valley Zoo and the Calgary Olympic Development Association. Yew was commissioned by the IOC to produce a book called The Olympic Image: The First 100 Years and was on the jury that selected the 2010 VANOC emblem.

Yew won the competition to design the Provincial Police & Peace Officer Memorial Monument at the Alberta Legislature and recently designed the 50-hectare Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Park to be built at the Armed Forces Garrison north of Edmonton. His works have won Canadian and international design awards. He is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and has adjudicated numerous design competitions, including the first ever graphic design show in Shenzhen, China.

Learn more about Wei Yew and his works at