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Two Canadian architecture firms win AIA International Awards

Two Canadian architecture firms—HCMA Architecture + Design and PHAEDRUS Studiohave received American Institute of Architects (AIA) International Region Awards, in the Architecture and Interior Architecture categories respectively.

Located within a downtown Toronto industrial brick-and-beam building, PHAEDRUS Studio’s Thor Espresso received the AIA’s International Honor Award for Interior Architecture. The design responds to two distinct interfaces of a corner retail space while also enhancing the experience of its historic shell.

Photo by Ryan Fung, courtesy of
Photo by Ryan Fung, courtesy of

With expansive stainless steel portals that emphasize the existing structural bays, the café presents a unique and refined architecture that interweaves functional and expressive elements.

“Despite its modest typology, Thor Espresso presents an innovative experience that pushes the boundaries of hospitality design, both aesthetically and technically,” says PHAEDRUS Studio.

HCMA Architecture + Design received the AIA International Honor Award for Architecture for the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre in Surrey, BC. Both a destination training facility and a venue for regional, national and international competitions, the centre meets stringent FINA standards for sporting events in its 10-lane, 50-metre Olympic-size competition pool, equipped with a dive platform.

Photo by Nic Lehoux, from
Photo by Nic Lehoux, from

With seating for up to 900 spectators, it is a premier destination for competitive diving, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo events.

“The project vision was to design and build a world-class aquatic centre to attract people from everywhere, while expressing the community’s ambition for Surrey. Inclusivity and universal access help to support a diverse culture. Intended to accommodate the needs of its growing community, the aquatic centre plays a vital role as the area develops and the master plan vision, which HCMA also helped to develop, is realized,” says HCMA.