RAIC Awards of Excellence: Allied Arts Medal
Toronto architect Christine Leu, MRAIC, is the co-founder, with Alan Webb, of the multi-disciplinary arts and curation practice LeuWebb Projects. A graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and a licensed member of the OAA, she also teaches as an adjunct architecture and interior design professor at Ryerson University.
LeuWebb uses space, light, sound and texture to activate public space, with a focus on social issues and respect for historical context. The practice’s grounding in site-specificity comes from the founders’ experience and training as architects. The collaborative practice operates at a variety of scales and across a range of media and disciplines.
Recent projects include a landscape installation at Ontario Place, Toronto, for the in/future festival, where LeuWebb Projects reimagined the utopian architectural forms of the park’s 46-year-old structures. Flotsam/Jetsam consists of several hundred plaster casts of the Cine-sphere, pavilions, and modular pods strewn upon the rocky infill of the west beach, interspersed between detritus and miscellaneous objects.
Workplace Affairs, curated and photographed by LeuWebb Projects for the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, explored the relationship of space to the creative process, examining the artefacts of production and documenting the workspaces that enabled their creation. The exhibition gave visitors a peek into the physical studio spaces of local artists through architectural drawings and artefacts from their work. It posited that the creative process may be shaped by physical constraints; like-wise, an artist may remake their workspace in their own image.
Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto was the site of Melting Point, an installation merging light and sound for Nuit Blanche in 2013. Light poured from the mouths of Fort York’s cannons, accompanied by a soundtrack of cannon rumbles, harps, and waves—laying a symbolic defense against encroaching development.
As architecture seeks to make connections to the larger world, the artwork of Christine Leu seeks to engage people with both the tangible and the ephemeral aspects of everyday life. By creating projects that encourage interaction and imaginative interpretations, Leu aspires for her audiences to reconsider and rediscover the spaces around them.
:: Jury ::
This is an extraordinary body of work that bridges art and architecture, with a high-quality craft element. Each one of Christine Leu’s permanent works and temporary installations manifests a thoughtful and thought-provoking approach to its architectural or environmental con-text. The work also demonstrates skill in response to site interpretation. Leu exemplifies a successful and creative career, working as an architect and artist, in collaborations, and in teaching.