RAIC President’s Award for Media in Architecture: Alex Bozikovic

Alex Bozikovic

Alex Bozikovic is the architecture critic for The Globe and Mail. In his columns, he mixes reporting and critical analysis to reveal what is happening in the built environment, and to advocate for better buildings and better cities. He aims to explain the state of Canadian architecture to a general audience, and to show how architecture shapes all of our daily lives.

His work in 2017 and 2018 spans six provinces and a range of architectural projects, from houses to public buildings and urban design. As a writer, he pays attention to the forces that shape architecture including aesthetic and technical dimensions, as well as political and social contexts.

In a column on the National Arts Centre’s renovation and expansion, Bozikovic took a respectful but critical look at the new work by Diamond Schmitt Architects. The challenge of updating a Brutalist cultural building is complex; and, as he argues, the “breathtakingly radical” original building by Affleck Desbarats deserves careful consideration in its own right. In another column on Montreal’s new CHUM, he explored some of the specific design issues in hospitals today, as well as the challenges of the P3 procurement system.

Bozikovic’s columns for the Globe and Mail include critical, but respectful looks at the expanded National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the CHUM in Montreal.

Bozikovic has also tackled the advent of tall wood, through discussing some of the issues regarding sustainability and constructability, and through a critical assessment of work by Michael Green Architect.

A 2018 profile of Brian MacKay-Lyons introduced the architect’s work to a cross-Canada audience, and also described the cultural and intellectual context that shapes the work of Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple.

That same year, Bozikovic introduced a speculative project by the  emerging office Batay-Csorba Architects. At his invitation, they developed a scheme for intensifying a century-old residential neighbourhood in Toronto through gentle density that is low in scale and familiar in its materials and massing. Projects of this scale and type—which challenge single-family zoning—will be critical tools in building denser, lower-carbon cities.

Bozikovic recently co-edited a book on the need for increased “missing middle” housing in Toronto.

:: Jury ::   Ewa Bieniecka (AP/FIRAC), Allan Teramura (PP/FRAIC), Annmarie Adams (FRAIC)

Bozikovic’s work consistently situates architectural projects in a social context, giving readers an understanding of why design matters. He examines a wide variety of building types, including some that typically escape critical examination, and always from the perspective of how the architecture affects the experience of the inhabitants. Every column has, at its heart, the complexity of architecture as a profession and as a discipline. He advocates for good architecture and doesn’t shy away from controversy. His writing is clear, free of jargon and unfailingly perceptive.