Two Projects win the Governor General Medal / by Bradley Till

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Canada Council for the Arts announced the recipients of the Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. The biennial awards celebrate outstanding design in recently completed projects by Canadian architects.

The 12 award-winning projects represent many types and sizes of buildings – from an international airport and sports complexes, to a park pavilion and small hospital. They include a visitor centre at a national historic site, a library in a 170-year-old church, art museums, and houses.

Winning projects span across the country from rural Nova Scotia to Whistler, BC, and anywhere in between – Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, East St. Paul, MB, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray. The best part of all, we were lucky enough to be a part of TWO of the twelve big winners.

Complexe Sportif Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Saucier+Perrotte Architectes and HCMA- Alpolic

The sculptural nature of this project creates a strong link between two natural parks in the urban fabric. Two angular objects (finished in Alpolic)— one prismatic and white, the other darker and stretched horizontally — embrace the specific functions of the project but simultaneously inviting users and passersby from the boulevard, while serving as a signal for the passage toward the park beyond.

The two structures appear to float, suspended by the kinetic energy emanating from the heart of the project, embodying the nature of the activities (sports, athletics, training) taking place within.

Stade de Soccer de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Saucier+Perrotte Architectes and HCMA- ElZinc


On the site of the former Miron quarry and a future Ecological Park, the new Stade de Soccer intérieur emerges from the park’s artificial topography as a layer of mineral stratum recalling the geological nature of the site. The mineral design is articulated by a continuous ElZinc roof,  which cantilevers over the entry plaza and folds down over the interior soccer field. It extends to the ground to become the spectator seating for the outdoor field in the next project phase.

To ensure the unity of the soccer centre over different programs and construction phases, the stratum appears as a single gesture with laminated wood structure supporting the roof. The roof’s crossing beams form a seemingly arbitrary, yet strategic, lattice suspended over the entire site.

“The recipients of the 2018 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture demonstrate excellence of design and diversity of purpose,” said RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC. “In each project, it’s clear that the site is important, with the architects drawing inspiration from cultural and natural history. The RAIC is proud to advocate for the quality of our environments by recognizing these examples of the best contemporary architecture in Canada."

“Architecture is a powerful art form that can affect people in their daily lives,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts. “It can inspire us, soothe us, transport us to other realms. The winners of the 2018 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture can be proud that they have designed places that, for instance, motivate athletes to surpass themselves, appease the suffering of people grappling with illness, or build bridges to the past. These winners have not been afraid to break with convention.”

The awards will be presented during a ceremony in Ottawa in the fall.