Susan Algie receives 2015 RAIC Advocate for Architecture Award

Susan Algie, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation (WAF), has been announced as the recipient of the 2015 RAIC Advocate for Architecture award.

The advocate for architecture award is for individuals who have contributed to the elevation of architecture in the public realm by means other than the practice of architecture. This award recognizes the long-term commitment to, and support for, the profession of architecture in Canada.

Algie and a small committee of volunteers founded WAF in 1996. As a non-profit charitable organization, the foundation is dedicated to advancing the awareness and appreciation of Winnipeg’s built environment through public education.

“Being an advocate for architecture requires an exceptional ability to broadcast the cultural, social and technological values contained within the achievements of our profession to a broader audience,” said RAIC President Sam Oboh, FRAIC. “With limited resources, Susan has built a dynamic architectural foundation that delivers thoughtful and impactful programming to the world.”

For almost two decades, Algie has engaged the public with the built environment and with the architects and allied professionals that shape it. She has directed initiatives, programs of research, and public education delivered by WAF that draw on Winnipeg’s wealth of historic architecture, its distinct architecture of the modern era, and its vibrant contemporary architectural culture.

This programming includes walking, cycling and self-guided tours; exhibits; lectures; publications; a film series; and a website and social media presence. To date, under Algie’s leadership, WAF has documented over 2,200 buildings and sites in the city of Winnipeg. At a national level, Algie co-chaired the first pan-Canadian conference on the built heritage of the postwar era. “Conserving the Modern in Canada: Buildings, Ensembles and Sites, 1945-1975,” was held at Trent University in Peterborough in 2005.

“What a joy to be honoured for doing something that I love so much,” Algie said. “Architecture and cityscapes are my passion. As the director of the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, the opportunity to share with the public through research, writing, tours, film festival and exhibits is both rewarding and fun.” 

The three-member jury called Algie a true advocate of the profession. They noted “the WAF has quickly established itself as a vibrant force on the Winnipeg architectural scene. It has built a recognizable “brand” through a consistent and high-quality graphic approach and has grasped social media as a way that is effectively promoting and advocating for Winnipeg architecture.”

The jury was comprised of: Michael McClelland, FRAIC, Principal of ERA Architects in Toronto; Bernard Flaman, FRAIC, Public Works and Government Services Canada; and Mark Ostry, FRAIC, Principal of Acton Ostry Architects in Vancouver.

Algie will receive the award at the RAIC Festival of Architecture which takes place in Calgary June 3 to 6, in collaboration with the Alberta Association of Architects.

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