RAIC announces Emerging Architect award winner

Drew Adams

Drew Adams MRAIC, a Toronto-based architect who integrates a passion for sustainability with excellence in built design, is the recipient of the 2020 Emerging Architect Award. This prize was previously known as the Young Architect Award, and Adams is the inaugural recipient following the renaming in 2019.

The Emerging Architect Award recognizes an individual for excellence in design, leadership, and service to the profession. This award is intended to inspire other individuals to become licensed and to strive for excellence in their work.

An Associate at LGA Architectural Partners, Drew Adams stands apart for his drive to affect meaningful change through design. A background in architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning fuels his capacity to engage differently. He is motivated by asking: how can we harness design to impact people’s lives and the environment in profound and lasting ways?

Autonomous City proposal. Rendering by Adams/Masoud/Ibanez/Rubio

Adams began studying urban planning at the University of Waterloo, then completed his Master of Architecture at the University of Toronto. He graduated with awards including the RAIC Honour Roll and Irving Grossman Thesis Prize for housing. 

After joining LGA Architectural Partners seven years ago, Adams has increasingly taken on leadership-focused roles within the studio. He has made instrumental contributions to a portfolio of community-building projects that demonstrate clear alternatives to the status quo, including Eva’s Phoenix Youth Transitional Housing Centre, Evergreen Brick Works’ Future Cities Centre, and the Lippincott Laneway House. His work also includes affordable housing, buildings engaging Indigenous communities, and numerous heritage and adaptive reuse projects.

Centre for Future Cities at Evergreen Brickworks, by LGA Architectural Partners. Photo by James Morely / A-Frame

Adams is a frequent speaker at conferences and guest lecturer at Ontario’s universities. He has authored pieces for several magazines, including co-authoring (with Janna Levitt) a series of articles on design and climate change.

Lippincott Laneway House, garden exterior, by LGA Architectural Partners. Photo by Ben Rahn / A-Frame

 Adams’ contributions have garnered wide recognition, with a nomination for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, and awards including the Jury Prize for Social Good in the international FRAME Awards, the OAA Design Excellence Award, the Ontario Concrete Award for Material Development and Innovation, the Canada Green Building Award, and the RAIC National Urban Design Award.

Eva’s Phoenix, by LGA Architectural Partners. Photo by Ben Rahn / A-Frame

“Adams’ work displays an impressive commitment to the benefits of material research, technical explorations of building systems, energy modelling, and daylight studies—all in the service of designing and building a more inclusive living environment for those most in need in our communities,” writes the jury. “His commitment to the design office collaborative as a social tool to advance our knowledge, seen in regeneration projects such as Evergreen Brickworks, also supports and promotes the notion of self-advancement within a greater group. He demonstrates an impressive commitment to mentoring, education and public speaking engagements to promote architecture in the community.”

Alexandra Park Townhouses, by LGA Architectural Partners. Photo by Ben Rahn / A-Frame

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Drew Adams will be honoured as the award recipient at the RAIC 2021 Conference on Architecture in Montreal, QC.

The 2020 jury included:

  • Diarmuid Nash, PP/FRAIC Chair of the Jury, Moriyama & Teshima Architects
  • Rami Bebawi, MRAIC, KANVA, Quebec, QC
  • Pat Hanson, FRAIC, gh3, Toronto, ON
  • Jessie Andjelic, MRAIC, SPECTACLE, Calgary, AB
  • Omar Gandhi, MRAIC, Omar Gandhi Architect, Halifax, NS
  • Shelley Craig, FRAIC, Urban Arts Architecture, Vancouver, BC.