RAIC Awards of Excellence: President’s Award for Media in Architecture

Photo: Lea Grahovac – IGSF, McGill University, Montreal
Photo: Lea Grahovac – IGSF, McGill University, Montreal

Annmarie Adams

Professor Annmarie Adams’ recent article “Canadian Hospital Architecture: How we got Here” was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in March 2016. It explains nearly two centuries of Canadian healthcare architecture in a succinct two pages. It is a model of professional outreach, from architecture to medicine. It presents academic research in an accessible format, and underlines the power of architecture to enhance healthcare.

The CMAJ is widely read by Canadian physicians, with an impact factor of 6.7. It accepts only 7 percent of papers submitted for publication. The article followed an interview and podcast featuring Professor Adams by the CMAJ’s news editor Barbara Sibbald in October 2015.

The article in the CMAJ is representative of a series of publications by Professor Adams over more than 25 years. These publications intend to educate healthcare professionals, especially physicians, about the value and history of healthcare design. They also seek to educate readers outside Canada, particularly Americans, about the state of Canadian healthcare architecture.

Healthcare is hugely important to Canadians. As our aging hospitals crumble and are replaced by new and sometimes puzzling institutions, the architectural community must celebrate and support efforts to explain the multi-faceted world of hospital design. It is crucial that physicians and physicians-to-be understand and appreciate the architecture of the institutions in which they work.

:: Jury ::

Annmarie Adams displays creativity and profound impact in synthesizing healthcare discourse with architecture, in a manner that is simple to understand. She merges two areas of expertise to better explain the impact of architecture each time we visit the hospital, and helps doctors understand the importance of the buildings in which they work.

Photo courtesy of John Bentley Mays' personal website.
Photo courtesy of John Bentley Mays’ personal website.

John Bentley Mays

For four decades, until his death in September 2016, John Bentley Mays was one of Canada’s greatest observers, interpreters and explainers of architecture. In addition to the numerous articles that he wrote for Canadian Architect, Azure and other magazines, he authored a weekly column in the Globe and Mail newspaper on the topic of residential architecture.

Mays explored his subject with boundless curiosity, and imparted readers with his deep knowledge of architecture along with its history, context and theory. He promoted architectural experimentation and innovation, helping to bring acclaim to thoughtfully designed buildings based in the here and now. One of his favourite topics was highlighting the talents of emerging architects, and his writings uplifted many careers.

Mays delighted readers (and inspired writers) with his humour and choice words, describing buildings as “ jaunty,” “glassy,” and “snazzy.” He painted masterful metaphors that helped to contextualize his opinions, such as this summation of a new condominium design: “There will always be a place in the urban wardrobe for well-stitched, sensitively designed ready-to-wear structures such as The High Park. But as the newest batch of mid-rise multi-family dwellings roll out on main streets across the city, we could surely stand to see a dash more haute couture.”

Mays took the role of the critic seriously and selflessly, protecting and also spreading his infectious love for the subject. Sometimes his criticisms were scathing, but only because he held high standards for our future. His column kept many accountable. Mays’ criticism spurred widespread discussion—ensuring that contemporary architecture is alive, vital and important.

:: Jury ::

John Bentley Mays presented artful skill and creativity in his deeply influential body of work as a writer. He expressed universal feelings about architecture with touching simplicity. He played a pivotal role in promoting good architecture to the everyday user through his weekly column.

Mays possessed very good knowledge, not just of urban architecture, but also its environment. His articles did not focus on just one building, but gave insight into their social, cultural and physical context. He made architecture interesting for the common reader.