Prix du XXe sicle honours enduring excellence in architecture

Architecture Canada | RAIC, in partnership with the Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF), is honouring the Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre in Edmonton with its Prix du XXe siècle for its enduring excellence and the mark it has left as nationally significant architecture.

The Hemingway Fitness & Leisure Centre by Peter Hemingway was commissioned as a project to mark Canada’s centennial for Edmonton. The facility, completed in 1970, reflects the modern architecture movement of the 1960s in Canada’s prairie provinces, but is unique in its referencing of the Rocky Mountains, the foothills and the rolling flatlands of the prairies through the flowing wave in its roof structure and bold mix of materials.

The jury noted it is nationally significant as an example of the architectural creativity and confidence engendered by Canada’s centennial celebrations. “It expresses a delight in the potential of new technologies, with its inventive mix of glass, steel, heavy timber, and concrete. The flowing wave form, reflecting the pool within, gives a certain uniqueness within the more prevalent rectilinear Modernism of the time.”

“These sort of iconic buildings have stood the test of time and have become national landmarks,” said Barry Johns, FRAIC, Chancellor of the RAIC College of Fellows. “The Prix du XXe siècle recognizes them as a testament of how architecture can add quality-of-life to society and as proof that Architecture matters.”

This award, created in 2007 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, recognizes the enduring excellence of nationally significant architecture, such as landmark buildings in the historical context of Canadian Architecture. The award can go to a building in Canada, designed by an architect from any country, or a building anywhere designed by a Canadian architect.

The jury, chosen jointly by the RAIC and HCF from distinguished scholars and members of the profession, was comprised of: Susan Bronson, MIRAC, Harold D. Kalman, and Julian Smith.

The Prix du XXe siècle will be recognized at the Presidents’ Dinner & Awards Gala on June 15th during the 2012 Architecture Canada | RAIC – NLAA Festival of Architecture taking place June 13-16, 2012 at the Delta St. John’s Hotel and Conference Centre.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a nationally registered charity dedicated to the preservation of Canada’s historic places.

Architecture Canada | RAIC is a voluntary national association established in 1907 as the voice for architecture and its practice in Canada. Representing more than 4,600 members, the RAIC is the leading voice of architecture in Canada whose mission is: to affirm that architecture matters; to celebrate the richness and diversity of architecture in Canada; and to support architects in achieving excellence.