News (March 01, 2002)


B.C. school receives AIA awards.

Dalla-Lana Griffin Dowling Knapp Architects of Vancouver have received two awards for the Glenrosa Junior Secondary School in Kelowna, British Columbia. The recognition comprises the Best Middle School Award of Distinction from the Council of Education Facility Planners (CEFP), and an Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects/CEFP/American Association of School Administrators, presented in San Diego, California in February. It was the only Canadian school to receive the AIA award. The $15.5 million project, built on a series of cut and fill benches terracing down the steeply sloping site of a former orchard, was completed in two phases in 1997 and 1999 for School District No. 23, Central Okanagan.

Ando awarded AIA Gold Medal.

In a ceremony earlier this month in Washington, D.C., Japanese architect Tadao Ando received the 2002 AIA Gold Medal, the highest honour bestowed by the American Institute of Architects. Ando, the AIA’s 59th gold medalist, adds the honour to a long list that includes the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, the Carlsberg Architectural Prize and the Gold Medal of Architecture from the French Academy of Architecture.

Archigram strikes Royal Gold.

The Royal Institute of British Architects announced in February that the 2002 RIBA Royal Gold Medal has been awarded to Archigram, the small group of London architects who rose to prominence in the 1960s. The original group of six architects–Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron and Michael Webb–took their name from a publication they produced between 1961 and 1970, which was conceived as a critical assault on “the crap going up in London.”

The group received the award despite the fact that their projects were largely unrealized and unrealizable, because their radical proposals are considered to have influenced subsequent generations of architects. Among their more memorable projects are utopian/ dystopian fantasies such as Plug-In City, Walking City, and Instant City. Despite its radical posturing, the group had achieved a certain legitimacy by the 1970s, creating the Archigram Capsule for Expo ’70 in Osaka, and designing an exhibition of contemporary British architecture at the Louvre in Paris in 1971 and the Malaysian Exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute in London in 1973.


Diamond and Schmitt do Shakespeare.

The Toronto firm of Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated has been selected to prepare a feasibility study and design for a new facility for The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. Other short-listed firms included Barton Myers Associates, Polshek Partnership Architects and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. The 800-seat, US$30 million Shakespeare Theatre is scheduled for completion in 2005. Other current performance space projects by Diamond and Schmitt include the Canadian Opera House in Toronto and the Detroit Symphony.

Parliamentary Library renovations.

The Parliamentary Library in Ottawa was closed this month to allow for an extensive three-year, $52-million program of conservation, rehabilitation and upgrade work. Architects for the project are Ogilvie and Hogg of Ottawa, Desnoyers Mercure of Montreal, and Lundholm Associates and Spencer R. Higgins, both of Toronto. The 126-year-old structure, which has survived two fires (in 1876 and 1952), will undergo much-needed conservation work that will include repairs to masonry walls, windows and ironwork, and replacement of the copper roofs. An HVAC system upgrade will improve conditions for the preservation of books and other materials, and electrical, communications, security, and life safety systems will be upgraded to meet current health and safety standards. The Library of Parliament will continue to serve Senate, House of Commons and Library employees from remote locations.

Edmonton’s Churchill Square.

HIP Architects of Edmonton in association with Statsny Brun Architects of Portland, Oregon and Carlyle and Associates Landscape Architects of Edmonton have been selected from a short list of five design teams to develop a master plan for the redesign of Edmonton’s Sir Winston Churchill Square. The square is surrounded by the city’s major civic and cultural institutions, including City Hall, the Edmonton Art Gallery, The Winspear Centre and the Central Library. Among the project’s ambitions is the creation of attractions to draw people to the square during the cold winter months. Work is to be completed in time for the city’s centenary in 2004. One third of the $10 to $14 million required to complete the project will be provided by the City of Edmonton, with the rest of the funding coming from private donors and other levels of government.


Millennium Bridge to reopen.

Almost two years after being closed to the public only three days after its inauguration in 2000, London’s Millennium bridge, designed by Foster and Partners with Ove Arup as engineers, is expected to reopen this spring. The 18 million footbridge was closed after the public complained of a swaying motion. Following the installation of 90 dampers at a cost of 5 million, the bridge was tested late in January by teams of walkers–2,000 volunteers in total–who spent two hours simulating rush hour conditions. The dampers seem to have resolved the swaying and bouncing that had alarmed visitors upon its initial opening.

As seen on TV.

In late January, the Ontario Association of Architects entered a new era in the promotion of architectural services to the public with the launch of a television ad campaign. Aired in four local CBC stations in Toronto, London, Ottawa and Windsor, the 30-second ad consists of a series of still images of well-known Ontario buildings, with a voiceover outlining the value of professional architectural services. A QuickTime Player version of the ad may be viewed at the OAA Web site,


Rewarding collaboration.

While reading the most recent Canadian Architect awards issue (December 2001), my attention was drawn to Beth Kapusta’s comments about the Brentwood SkyTrain Station by Busby + Associates. I agree with her contention that competition juries often unjustly overlook this building type, and that the stations of the Millennium Line, perhaps more than most, are worthy of serious consideration. However, in identifying the strategies that make Brentwood Station of particular interest, Ms. Kapusta is implicitly (and erroneously) crediting Busby + Associates with having made these decisions.

Jim Taggart’s recent article on the Millennium Line (CA July 2001) touched on the collaborative nature of the design process, and alluded to the collective decisions made about station design. The grouping of exposed services admired by Ms. Kapusta in the Brentwood Station was in fact a requirement of the system design guidelines prepared by Baker McGarva Hart. Similarly, the composite construction of the canopy supports, which Ms. Kapusta interprets as a direct response to loading considerations, was in fact the result of a collective decision to keep the timber above a three-metre datum to deter vandals.

The strength of the Millennium Line project has been in its collaborative design process, the like of which we have not seen in Vancouver since Simon Fraser University was completed in the 1970s. In a profession so caught up in a competitive star culture, overseeing the Millennium Line project has been a rare and welcome opportunity to do things differently.




In the January 2002 issue, the photography credit was omitted for the Computer Science Building at York University. Photography is by Steven Evans.