News (September 01, 2002)

AWARDS: 2002 Prix de Rome.

Calgary architect Marc Boutin is this year’s recipient of the Canada Council’s Prix de Rome in architecture. Boutin plans to study Rome’s water infrastructure–aqueducts, fountains and related public spaces–with a view to the transformative capacities it holds for urban fabric and Roman architecture. The $34,000 prize includes the use of an apartment-studio in the Trastevere district of Rome.

Boutin, Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, is principal of his own firm and a partner at ID8 Design Group Inc., an interdisciplinary design studio. He has won numerous prizes for individual and firm work, including two 2002 Prairie Design Awards, and a national public art competition. Among other projects, he is presently working in joint venture with Saucier + Perrotte architectes of Montreal on the New Varscona Theatre in Edmonton.

PROJECTS: Greenwood College School.

Montgomery Sisam Associates Inc. Architects have designed a new private co-educational school in Toronto. Located on a compact urban site, Greenwood College School is a three-storey alteration and addition to an existing office building. Cedar ceilings, a stone fireplace and painted rough sawn wood adorn a ground floor “lodge” which is the main gathering space. Academic, athletic and public spaces radiate out from a central atrium at the north end of the lodge. Features include green building materials, the re-use of an existing structure and natural ventilation. The first phase of the school opens this month and up to 288 Grade 7 to OAC students are to be admitted by September 2003.

IN BRIEF: Libeskind holds first Gehry Chair.

Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind has been selected as the first Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design at the University of Toronto. Libeskind, who has designed the winning scheme in the competition for the Royal Ontario Museum’s renovation, taught architecture at the U of T in the late 1970s. He will hold the appointment from January to April, 2003.

LETTERS: Who will hire Canadians?

I am writing on a topic which I believe demands discussion and action in the architectural community.

In your July 2002 News section, you announced without comment the appointment of Stanley Saitowitz of San Francisco, California as the designer for the new University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge, Ontario. While it is a growing trend for high level private companies and public institutions to enhance their image through imported international “star architects,” it is absolutely inappropriate for a school of architecture.

I am absolutely outraged!

Does this school of architecture too believe we lack sufficient design talent in this country? Do they believe Canadian architects are merely suited to do working drawings for the Gehrys, Fosters, Libeskinds, et al… and now Saitowitz? If a school of architecture cannot demonstrate confidence in the talents it nurtured and produced, who should? Who will?

Paul W. Shepherd, B.Arch., OAA MRAIC ARIDO


Waterloo responds.

No one has more respect or ambition for Canadian architecture than the faculty, staff and students at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. The selection of Stanley Saitowitz in no way reflects a lack of faith in Canadian architects. The outcome was not a public relations stunt, but rather the result of a thoughtful and broadly inclusive process. Canadian architecture is part of an international culture. Waterloo is an international School, winner of the 2000 ScotiaBank/AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalizing Post-Secondary Education. We have had a “campus” in Rome for 23 years and are involved in research and educational exchange with more than two dozen countries. Our graduates have achieved distinction in practice all over the world. One third of the co-op students work outside Canada at any given time. Hence, when we began selecting architects for our new building, we embarked on a process that included all our graduates and co-op employers–indeed all architects. It did not seem acceptable to exclude them. There should be no cause for surprise, much less outrage, that a non-Canadian was selected.

Our request for expressions of interest attracted 46 responses. These included firms from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Portugal. Our selection Committee had 16 members representing the faculty and students of the School of Architecture, the City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Consortium and the University of Waterloo. We short listed six firms or groups–two from Vancouver, who both allied with local Kitchener-Waterloo firms; three from Toronto, two of these allied with international firms, one English, one German; and one from San Francisco. The groups were all given extensive notes on the project and the School and asked to address a series of important issues related to process, approach and vision. They were not to design. The Committee as a whole, and after long deliberation, decided on Mr. Saitowitz. His interest in the project was as genuine as that of all the other firms who participated. He has a long association with Waterloo and has hired many co-op students and graduates. He performed excellently in the interview, as did all the others. The choice was the result of careful consideration of the presentations and discussions. There is nothing in this case that represents a crisis or should provoke outrage. Stanley Saitowitz, working with his Associate, a graduate of the University of Waterloo, his collaborators Levitt Goodman Architects, the community of the School of Architecture and its partners in Cambridge will create an appropriate, inspiring, public-spirited and environmentally responsible home for a School that aspires to be one of the best in the world, a global academy strongly rooted in its local community.

Rick Haldenby, MRAIC

Director, School of Architecture

University of Waterloo

A national student voice.

On behalf of the Canadian Architecture Students Association-Association Canadienne des tudiants en Architecture (CASA-ACEA) I would like to express our thanks for the interest and support given our association at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) festival this past June in Winnipeg.

CASA-ACEA is a non-profit organization funded principally by the RAIC, the 10 accredited Canadian schools of architecture and their student unions. The organization provides a common bond that represents student interests, creating a voice for the concerns of a population of over 2,500. The association looks to foster communication between Canadian students, the schools, and the Canadian architectural community. Though often overwhelmed by geographic distance, we invite these groups to explore new methods of communication without bounds.

At this time we are pleased to announce the September launch of our new Web site, It is our hope that this will become the premier discussion forum for topics relevant to all individuals concerned. Matters of academics, student life, post-graduate experience and professional practice are fundamental to facilitating a better transition from the academic milieu to professional practice.

We hope that individuals and groups within the profession will choose to participate in the discussions and allow students to benefit from the knowledge and wisdom attained through experience. Ultimately, the association hopes to promote and facilitate a critical discourse on architecture in Canada. I trust that we may count on the profession’s continued support of our association and its aspirations.

Mark Arrojado

Director, CASA-ACEA


Jim Taggart, co-ordinator of the RAIC’s national education program for schools, would like to reconnect with those who contacted him following publication of “A is for Architecture” in the May 2002 edition of CA. A computer malfunction resulted in the loss of all related e-mail correspondence. Please contact him a
gain at or by phone at (604) 876-0647.