Each year The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) presents an award for the best coverage of architecture in the Canadian media. According to organization president Sam Oboh, RAIC acts as the voice for excellence in the built environment in Canada. One of the organization’s aims is to demonstrate how design can enhance the quality of life. In addition, the society emphasizes the important issues of society through responsible architecture.
For this year’s award, the RAIC recognized journalist François Cardinal for a two-part series about the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, which was recently constructed. Cardinal’s article was titled “Prix Citron and Maintenant, faut vivre avec.”
The article looks at the design of a major public building and how it became a “failed opportunity,” for the City of Montreal. The second article contained follow-up commentary on the reactions from readers to his insightful critique.
Commenting on his piece, Cardinal writes: “My architectural criticism MUHC earned me a tremendous amount of feedback. On social networks, they have been almost unanimously positive. But in my inbox, it’s a tsunami of attacks that I got.”
The second award went to Lucie Lavigne for a series of innovative videos on contemporary residential architecture produced. These article were also associated with La Presse, appearing on the newspaper’s website. Lavigne made a total of 14 videos in the series.
Introducing her videos, Lavinge states: “Find 14 exceptional homes designed by the cream of Architects of Quebec. In the process, they reveal to us their best ideas to improve the well-being of the occupants.”
Commenting on this year’s awards, RAIC President Sam Oboh told Digital Journal: “It is increasingly rare for any newspaper to support architectural criticism. It is extraordinary to see a newspaper like Montreal’s La Presse support two popular journalists who engage the public about design.”
In relation to Cardinal’s work, Oboh notes: “François’s commitment to the built environment inspires dialogue and debate.” And with Lavinge’s videos, he stated: “She de-mystifies the aura of architecture and places it firmly in the hands of her readers to empower them.”
The awards will be presented in June 2015 at the RAIC Festival of Architecture, an event taking place in Calgary. The event is run in conjunction with the Alberta Association of Architects.