Canada’s best new buildings

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Quebec City. (beta.qc.bluecross.co)

Here, in order of presentation in Canadian Architect, the journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, are this year’s winners of the biennial Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. No private houses here – this year’s program celebrates architecture “In the Public Interest.”

The article does not offer readers any photos of the winning structures, just links to specific articles detailing each entry. That gave me a few additional moments of potential joy during which to imagine that the next one I clicked on might be worth looking at. Alas, no such luck. Maybe it could be said that each is more regrettable than the one before, but it is difficult to “rank” in any real order the hodgepodge of entries here.

(I have placed a photograph of Quebec City atop this post as evidence of what Canada was once capable.)

Canada tries to copy the United States even as it seeks to express its distance from the yuge neighbor to the south. In the case of architecture – or at least the celebration of the best of architecture – Canada seems to be copying American practices. Canada is not alone in its failure to recognize that the profession and the industry of architecture is dragging the Maple Leaf down no less swiftly and no less certainly than Old Glory has been hag-ridden by architecture down here. Very sad.

As a service to the masochists among my readers I have besmirched this post with screenshots of the Governor General’s dozen 2016 laureates.

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Bridgeport Active Healthcare, Toronto, Ontario

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Cogeco Amphitheater, Trois Rivieres, Quebec

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Wong Dai Sin Temple, Markham, Ontario

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ArtLab, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

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Glacier Skytwalk, Jasper National Park, Alberta

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Wood Innovation & Design Centre, Prince George, B.C.

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Ronald McDonald House, Vancouver, B.C.

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BC Passive House Factory, Pemberton, B.C.

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Regent Park Aquatic Centre, Toronto, Ontario

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Corporate headquarters, Caisse Desjardins, Levis, Quebec

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Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario

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Central Library, Halifax, Nova Scotia

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Canada’s best new buildings

  1. Steven Semes says:

    Two of them in particular show the usual sensitivity toward pre-existing historic settings. Pre-modernist architecture exists solely to offer a “foil” to the experimental fantasies of the “contemporary” designer. The ghost of Le Corbusier continues to infect architecture everywhere.

    Like

    • Why did Canada have to copy US in this of all things! One wants, as an American, a worthy place to which to immigrate in certain eventualities, yes? How can we think of fleeing one architectural death wish only to land in another!?!

      Like

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