Solid Performance

As with previous winners of Governor General’s Medals in Architecture, the 2010 award recipients are being recognized and celebrated by their peers for design excellence. This awards program continues a tradition that was initiated by the Massey Medals in 1950 and remains an important barometer of change identifying the evolution of Canadian architecture with respect to regional, cultural and material characteristics expressed in contemporary buildings. The jury for this year’s Governor General’s Medals in Architecture comprises a group of internationally renowned professionals and esteemed Canadian architects from the Prairies, Ontario, and Quebec, including Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, Nader Tehrani, Georges Adamczyk, Jane Pendergast and Betsy Williamson.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), together with the RAIC College of Fellows, is responsible for the organization and administration of the competition, while the Canada Council for the Arts is responsible for selecting and administering the peer assessment jury. Awarded every two years, up to 12 winners can be selected for each Governor General’s Medals in Architecture awards cycle. Readers will note that many of the award-winning projects have long ago been published in Canadian Architect magazine. This is because the eligibility requirements for submission allow such a generous period of time for project completion–from January 1, 2001 to November 1, 2007.

Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta is currently the Dean of the School of Architecture at the Universidad Anáhuac in Mexico City. In 2008, he was honoured as Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur by the French Republic and recognized as an Honorary Fellow by the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. More than 80 prizes recognize the work of Gómez-Pimienta, who is known for a contemporary architectural vocabulary that references traditional Mexican culture.

Nader Tehrani is a Principal of the Boston-based architecture firm of Office dA. He is also a Professor of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His area of research is focused on innovations in building systems, material applications, and digital fabrication. Office dA has received numerous awards and the work of the firm has been exhibited widely at such venues as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Georges Adamczyk is a Full Professor at the School of Architecture at the Université de Montréal, where he served as its director from 1999 to 2007. He is a consultant for public interest projects and is the author of a number of articles, papers, publications and exhibitions about architecture and design in Canada. Adamczyk is currently collaborating on the first major disciplinary study of architectural competitions in Canada since 1940 at the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (LEAP), a research organization that is centred at the Université de Montréal.

Jane Pendergast has devoted her career to various forms of practice including a stint as University Architect at the University of Calgary. Her real passion lies in working on cultural, not-for-profit, higher education and community projects, and she has recently opened the firm Pendergast Nyhoff Collaborative Architecture Inc. (PNCA) in downtown Calgary with architect Kevin Nyhoff.

Betsy Williamson is a Principal of WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC., a Toronto-based architecture firm. She serves on the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel and the Art Advisory Board of the Toronto Sculpture Garden. In addition to her creative practice, Betsy maintains an active teaching career at the University of Toronto. In 2008, WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC., was the recipient of the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2006, the studio was honoured with the Young Architects Award from the Architectural League of New York.