The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada awarded a posthumous 2017 Gold Medal to Roger du Toit, one of the country's most impactful urban designers. As the RAIC's highest honor since 1930, the medal recognizes an individual architect's significant body of work and its lasting influence in Canadian architecture. The medal has been awarded to Aga Khan, Peter Cardew, Bing Thom, Jane Jacobs, Phyllis Lambert, Moshe Safdie, John and Patricia Patkau, Raymond Moriyama, Brian MacKay-Lyons, and more.
Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Roger du Toit established his design practice — now known as DTAH — in Toronto in 1975. Throughout his 45-year career, his seminal works include Toronto's iconic CN Tower, the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa, and the Wascana Centre in Regina. du Toit passed away at the age of 75 in 2015.
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Roger du Toit's portfolio comprises urban planning and urban design, community development, and architecture projects in Canada, as well as Australia, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and the United States. He earned a bachelor of architecture from the University of Cape Town in 1963, and then made his way to Toronto in 1965.
After he received his master’s degree in architecture from the University of Toronto in 1966, he joined John Andrews Architects. During his time there, du Toit was a key figure in designing the Metro Centre railway redevelopment plan, and became the project manager of the CN Tower's construction.
His other significant projects include Toronto's Distillery District and Queens Quay, Confederation Boulevard, and the Long Term Vision and Plan for the parliamentary and judicial precincts in Ottawa. He also published the first design guidelines for downtown Toronto in 1974, and he handled over 45 projects at more than 25 universities in Canada throughout his career.
In 1975, he founded Roger du Toit Architects with his wife Sheila, who was the firm's business manager. The firm became du Toit, Allsopp, Hillier in 1985, and then changed its name to its acronym DTAH in 2012.
The selection jury (listed below) described du Toit as “a leader and an innovator [who] has made timeless contributions to significant parts of our urban environments across the country”.
“He was very much the ‘master architect’ working and coordinating a wide range of groups, institutions, and communities,” the jury said. “He anticipated and planned for unknown futures. He made us aware that our community projects could go way beyond the traditional notions of just streetscapes.”
du Toit’s widow, Sheila du Toit, and their sons Rob du Toit and Andre du Toit will accept the Gold Medal at the RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture in Ottawa on May 24-27.
The 2017 jury: Barry Johns, FRAIC, Patricia Patkau, FRAIC, Tom Emodi, FRAIC, David Scott, MRAIC, Wayne DeAngelis, PP/FRAIC and Ricardo L. Castro, FRAIC.
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