The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada recently announced its selection of four designers as Honorary Fellows in recognition of their work’s ability to impact public life and the practice of architecture throughout the world.
Mexican architect Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas joined American David Hughes, Nigeria’s Tokunbo Ómisorè, and South African Counterspace founder Sumayya Vally were the four selected to comprise the 2023 cohort, following the selection of Tawaw Architecture Collective founder Wanda Dalla Costa last year.
The fellowship nomination process is open to all members of the RAIC whose contributions fall under a range of academic and professional qualifiers across three categories.
Scroll down to read more about each new fellow.
"Principal of Counterspace, Sumayya Vally’s design, research and pedagogical practice is searching for expression for hybrid identities and territory, particularly for African and Islamic conditions—both rooted and diasporic. Her process is often forensic and draws on the oral, aural, sound, ritual, supernatural, and the overlooked as generative places of history and work.
In 2022, Vally was selected by the World Economic Forum to be one of its Young Global Leaders and as a TIME100 Next list honoree. She recently joined the World Monuments Fund Board of Directors, and serves on several boards through her interest in dynamic forms of archive, embodied heritage and supporting new networks of knowledge in the arts.
In 2019, Counterspace designed the 20th Serpentine Pavilion in London, making Vally the youngest architect to win this internationally renowned commission. Through this, she created a new fellowship program, Support Structures for Support Structures, which assists artists and collectives working at the intersection of art with social justice, the archive, and ecology. As Artistic Director, Sumayya has creatively shaped the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah (January - April 23, 2023) actively working to expand and deepen the definition of Islamic arts; in an effort to embed new discourses and manifest identities which are reflective, resonant and generative with the philosophies and experience of Islam. She is currently collaborating on the design of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development in Monrovia, Liberia."
"Guided by determined optimism and steadfast commitment to advancing excellence in Africa’s built environment, Tokunbo Ómisorè has selflessly dedicated his career to nurturing responsible architecture, safeguarding Africa’s pride of place in the world of architecture and fostering international cooperation to enhance people’s quality of life.
A graduate of Thames College of Architecture in London, Tokunbo is a Chartered Architect with a wealth of professional experience spanning over four decades. A visionary architect, developer, innovator, changemaker, and ardent architectural advocacy champion, Tokunbo has had a remarkable track record of success using architecture to expand economic development opportunities for his people.
In 1983, Tokunbo founded the firm Tokunbo Omisore Associates to leverage the power of design in creating solutions that promote equity, resilience, and wellbeing for all. Motivated by his proclivity for innovation, collaboration, and a true entrepreneurial spirit that inspires, in 1999, Tokunbo established Top Services Ltd. to create ready-to-operate facilities that focus on the end users’ needs - thereby building an incredible portfolio of boutique hotels and retail turnkey projects that has created jobs and helped improve people’s quality of life.
As Past President and Trustee of the Africa Union of Architects, and more specifically as the consummate ambassador for architecture in Africa, Tokunbo is a recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Presidential Medal in 2016. He is currently the Vice President-R5 of the International Union of Architects. In service to his community, Tokunbo holds the revered Chieftaincy Akiyegun of Owu Egba Kingdom and the Ajisewa of Egbaland."
"Professor David Hughes, FAIA, has made an impact in architecture as a Scholar, Researcher, Theorist and Teacher. He committed his career to advance the knowledge of the contributions Africa has made to global architecture.
Hughes received an appointment to the Faculty of Architecture, Kent State University, in 1985, becoming the first African American to receive this opportunity. He immediately began making an impact, receiving a Fulbright Scholar Award for Teaching and Research in Africa, in 1990.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Hughes traveled to ancient sites including Timbuktu, Giza, Lalibela and Great Zimbabwe. He visited modern cities, including Cairo, Cape town, Nairobi and Lagos, documenting great modern architectural works designed by outstanding African architects, such as Pierre Goudiaby, Wango Sawadogo and Peter Malefane. Hughes’ research and writings resulted in unknown African architects receiving international regard. South African, Peter Malefane, became the first Black African to receive Honorary Fellowship from the American Institute of Architects.
In 1991, Hughes promulgated a theoretical premise that, ‘distinct architectural design could be inspired by cultural elements originating in African culture. His theory was published in 1994, a book titled, Afrocentric Architecture a Design Primer. Hughes has been invited to lecture throughout the USA, including Yale University and at universities in Europe, Africa, and Asia. His theory has influenced design and built work, by award-winning architects and has gained recognition from schools of architecture worldwide."
Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas
"Born in Mexico City in 1956 and graduated from the Architecture Faculty of the Universidad Iberoamericana, Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas leads the architecture firm Sordo Madaleno with a global perspective and visionary mindset since 1985. Javier has created transformative architecture throughout his career of more than 40 years that has proven to be a catalyst for positive change and has improved urban fabric and social equity in a creative and inclusive manner.
Including the design of approximately 250 projects, construction of over 9 million square meters, and development of approximately 3 million square meters, his architecture has contributed to the transformation of various Mexican cities by creating remarkable building assemblies that transform urban sites in a very dynamic way. His works embrace diversity of issues that directly affect the quality of life locally and are at the same time a part of the global agenda — habitability, urban transformation and sustainability come hand in hand in his pursuit to build better places for people.
Javier is Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) and was appointed Professor of the International Academy of Architecture (IAA) in 2017, and member of many prestigious associations in the real estate and architecture industries, such as the Mexican School of Architects, the Mexican Society of Architects, the National Academy of Architecture, and the Real Estate Developers Association (ADI)."
The Fellows will next be honored at a special induction ceremony to be held as part of the RAIC 2023 Conference on Architecture from May 2nd-6th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Calgary. More information about the conference can be found here.
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