RAIC Young Architect Award: Kenneth Borton

Borton has contributed to numerous projects at 5468796, including the 62M condominiums, whose UFO-like design responds to the peculiarities of a site adjacent an elevated roadway. Photo by James Brittain Photography

The success of Kenneth Borton, MRAIC shows that Canadian architects need not work abroad to produce exciting work, and that a commitment to Winnipeg can lead to a rewarding architectural career.

Borton, 39, graduated in 2007 from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture, where he received numerous recognitions for his academic achievements.

After an internship at Atelier in situ in Montreal, Borton became the first employee of 5468796 Architecture in June 2007—one month after the Winnipeg practice began. He now holds the position of associate.

The 11-storey Bond Tower rises as a thin, black bar from an extremely narrow lot. Diagonal courtyards increase access to light, views and fresh air.

In just 11 years at 5468796, he has been a design and project architect on a number of award-winning projects, including Bloc_10, James Avenue Pumping Station, Guertin Boat Port and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria design competition. He has contributed to nearly all of the office’s projects.

For Bloc_10, Borton pushed to design the building from the inside out, resulting in the project’s key innovation. Criss-crossing the units across an internal circulation and service core gave each suite north- and south-facing views and transformed eight of the 10 into corner units. This reinvention of the market-driven condominium typology earned the office its first Governor General’s Medal in Architecture.

Borton is the design and project architect for the James Avenue Pumping Station, a development that bookends a restored industrial facility on the Winnipeg waterfront.

“Through his extraordinary design talent and unyielding pursuit of innovation in architecture, he has become an irreplaceable part of what defines 5468796 and will play a key role in defining our future,” says 5468796 cofounder Johanna Hurme, FRAIC.

In addition to practice, Borton has taught, completed graphic design tasks for the Manitoba Association of Architects, and designed and curated several architectural exhibits.

A section of Guertin Cottage, a building conceived as a wooden tent, with a tall volume bringing warmth up to a pair of sleeping lofts.

:: Jury ::  David Pontarini (FRAIC), Gilles Saucier (FIRAC), Luc Bouliane (MRAIC), Samuel Oboh (PP/FRAIC), Rayleen Hill (MRAIC)

Borton has played an instrumental role in many of 5468796 Architecture’s projects that have garnered awards and recognition across the industry, and are developing the architectural landscape of Winnipeg. Within 5468796, Borton has been a design force in the evolution and the recognition of the firm, by addressing the link between technical necessity and design.

Some young architects branch out on their own, while others contribute to the success of larger architectural firms, and should be recognized. Borton sits in a unique position as a young architect who has helped build the portfolio of one of Canada’s most influential design firms since its earliest days. He illustrates how a young architect can have a strong and influential career under the umbrella of a larger firm.