Nova Scotia architect Brian MacKay-Lyons, founding partner of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, is the 2015 recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal. As the RAIC's highest honor, the medal recognizes an individual's body of work that has made significant and influential contributions to Canadian architecture.
Receiving the Gold Medal is like the (honorable) cherry on top of MacKay-Lyons' illustrious career. For starters, his work has been recognized with over 100 awards, 330 publications, and 100 exhibitions.
MacKay-Lyons will be presented with the Gold Medal during the RAIC/AAA Festival of Architecture in Calgary from June 3-6.
Read more about him below.
"Born and raised in the village of Arcadia in Southwestern Nova Scotia, Brian MacKay-Lyons received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1978, where he was awarded the RAIC’s Student Medal. He received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles and won the Dean's Award for Design."
"After studying in China, Japan, California and Italy and working with prominent architects Charles Moore and Barton Myers, both of the United States, and Giancarlo De Carlo, of Italy, he returned to Nova Scotia in 1983. Two years later, he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax.
Twenty years later, he partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd. The practice continues to work locally and internationally on cultural, academic and residential projects."
"Best-known for houses, MacKay-Lyons has also designed university and commercial buildings. Projects include the Canadian Chancery and Official Residence in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Computer Science Building and the Architecture School at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and the Plaza building at Brock University in St. Catharines, ON."
"In 1994, MacKay-Lyons founded Ghost Lab on his farm near Lunenburg. It drew architects, historians, critics and writers from around the world who explored through dialogue and hands-on construction the values of regionalism, craft, and design. The annual two-week event ended in 2011."
"MacKay-Lyons has received more than 100 awards including: the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Firm Award in 2014, six Governor General Medals, two American Institute of Architects Honor Awards for Architecture, 13 Lieutenant Governor's Medals of Excellence, eight Canadian Architect Awards, three Architectural Record Houses Awards, and seven North American Wood Design Awards."
MacKay-Lyons is also an architecture professor at Dalhousie University with over 30 years of teaching experience. To add to that, he has held 17 academic chairs and visiting professorships, and has given more than 200 public lectures.
"'It is a great honor to be recognized by one’s peers,' said MacKay-Lyons in a statement. 'In an increasingly globalized world it’s nice to reaffirm a way of making architecture about place – its landscape, climate and material culture. The RAIC Gold Medal is all the more meaningful because it recognizes a body of work rather than the fashion of the day.'"
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