RAIC Awards of Excellence: Young Architect Award
Andrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba
Batay-Csorba Architects was established in 2010 by Andrew Batay-Csorba, MRAIC and Jodi Batay-Csorba, MRAIC as a collaborative, research-oriented design studio. The practice was created in Los Angeles, California and moved to Toronto, bringing with it a fresh outlook to the progress of design in Canada. Jodi and Andrew both received their Masters in Architecture at UCLA. Before founding Batay-Csorba Architects, Andrew worked as a project architect at Morphosis, and Jodi worked at firms including Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Aedas and Gensler.
The practice is committed to creating transformative spatial experiences through the exploration of site, typology, materiality and movement. Each project is generated through a deep reading of the site in search of unexpected relationships that can both tie it to a larger urban contribution and shape new perceptual experiences.
While Batay-Csorba’s work ranges from small-scale installations to large-scale urban planning, its main focus has been a critical approach to Toronto’s low-rise typology. In counterpoint to the high-density, high-rise infill towers that have accounted for the bulk of the city’s residential development over the past decade, Andrew and Jodi have sought to revitalize and rethink the low-rise project. Their approach seeks to accommodate changes in lifestyle and more sensitively consider the long-term development of the city.
This is pursued through a particular reading of common architectural elements and themes. Context is abstracted and understood for its geometric logic rather than as a language to mimic at face value. Typology becomes more spatial, reconsidering the configuration between units and between the building and its site. Façades become interactive to create a dialogue with onlookers and neighbouring buildings.
Works exemplifying this approach include Semi[Detached], which was exhibited in the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale’s Migrating Landscapes exhibition in the Canadian Pavilion and won an OAA Concept Award in 2014. It abstracts the geometry of a typical Toronto home, creating a sculptural form that fits in with its neighbours, despite using a completely different material palette. Double Duplex, the recipient of a 2015 Canadian Architect Award of Merit, creates two generous units per building by carving out front and back court-yards to allow for double-height volumes. And Misfit[Fit], which won a Canadian Architect Award of Merit in 2016, proposes a new take on precast concrete forms for a boutique mid-rise commercial building in a former industrial district. Like the rest of their work, these projects demonstrate Batay-Csorba’s commitment to thoughtful, creative design that offers innovative and sensitive ways to drive forward the profession in Canadian cities.
The direction of the office has also been influenced by the duo’s extensive academic involvement. As an adjunct professor at Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, Andrew has developed and taught several studio courses exploring new urban housing and mixed-use typologies. Andrew and Jodi have served as jury members at institutions across North America, participated at Pecha Kucha events at the University of Waterloo, and guest lectured at an international conference in Panama.
The firm’s work has been distinguished with international awards, publications and gallery exhibitions.
:: Jury ::
Andrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba have consistently produced good and mature work that is innovative and fresh. The projects—particularly in infill—are original and are developed with focus and exploration that is consistent with ongoing university explorations. It shows a lot of time and commitment to research. The work displays excellent design and built resolution of space and surface detailing, and incorporates expressive texture and form. Batay-Csorba’s projects also reflect a trusting relationship with clients. This is a positive validation of the quality of their process and design.