Quebec journalists receive 2015 RAIC President’s Award for Media in Architecture

The Montreal daily newspaper La Presse and two of its journalists are the recipients of the 2015 President’s Award for Media in Architecture, given by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).

“It is increasingly rare for any newspaper to support architectural criticism,” said RAIC President Sam Oboh, FRAIC. “It is extraordinary to see a newspaper like Montreal’s La Presse support two popular journalists who engage the public about design.”

A three-member jury recognized François Cardinal for a two-part series on the new McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. The articles, titled “Prix Citron” and “Maintenant, faut vivre avec” were published in December 2014. In the first article, he takes a critical look at the design of a major public building and how it became a “failed opportunity” for the city of Montreal. The second article was a commentary on the reactions of readers to his critique.

The jury also selected Lucie Lavigne for 14 videos on contemporary residential architecture produced in 2013-2014. They appeared online, and on LaPresse+, the digital edition for tablets which delivers print, Web, mobile applications and video—reaching more than 438,000 mobile readers per week.

“The jury was unanimous in recognizing the exceptional efforts made by La Presse in addressing diverse and relevant architectural concerns through its traditional print and groundbreaking electronic platforms and bringing these views to the attention of the public,” said the jury.

“The investigative work of François Cardinal brings forth the importance of architectural and urban-quality criteria in public commissions and large-scale urban projects,” they said. The jury also praised the showcasing of contemporary domestic architecture and architects in Lavigne’s video reports.

“The incorporation of writing, photographs and video showcased in the diverse reports prepared by both journalists shows that the subject of architecture is well suited to digital format.”

This award recognizes a book, a unique story, article, radio or television piece for its contribution to the wide-spread dissemination of architectural values and ideas. The jury was pleased by the “extraordinary diversity and exceptional quality of material submitted this year.”

The award will be presented at the RAIC Festival of Architecture taking place June 3-6, 2015 in Calgary, in partnership with the Alberta Association of Architects.

“François’s commitment to the built environment inspires dialogue and debate,” said Oboh. “Proud of his city, he excels at asking the deeper questions and informing the public in plain language about the complex issues related to urban developments across Montreal. “

“Lucie gives credence to the work of architects by revealing what they can do for the average person,” he said. “She demystifies the aura of architecture and places it firmly in the hands of her readers to empower them.”

The jury members were Edmonton architect Vivian Manasc, PP/ FRAIC; Ottawa architect and urban design consultant Yves Gosselin, AP/FIRAC; and Montreal architect Philippe Lupien, MIRAC.