KPMB’s Marianne McKenna: new Officer of the Order of Canada

Last Friday, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, invested Marianne McKenna of Toronto, Ontario, as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

“Marianne McKenna, O.C., has crafted architecture that enriches the public experience. A founding partner of KPMB Architects, she is responsible for a number of innovative structures, including the Royal Conservatory of Music’s acclaimed Koerner Concert Hall, in Toronto.  Whether designing an integrated campus for Concordia University in downtown Montreal, or the environmentally sustainable Jackson-Triggs Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, she is committed to creating edifices that weave into the fabric of the community.” — Office of the Secretary to the Governor General

A founding partner of the award-winning practice of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), Marianne McKenna, O.C., has designed and directed a diverse range of internationally-acclaimed projects in the spheres of culture, business, education and science. One of her notable achievements is the Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, a project spanning 20 years that includes the elegant and acoustically-mastered Koerner Concert Hall, which has been described as the “jewel in the crown of Toronto’s Cultural Renaissance.” The design earned KPMB its 11th Governor General’s Medal as well as numerous awards for architectural excellence. In 2011, McKenna was made an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory for her outstanding contribution and commitment.

Among her more prominent, academic projects are the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre and Le Quartier Concordia (both in joint venture with Fichten Soiferman  et Associés, Architectes), the integrated vertical campus of business, engineering and visual arts at Concordia University’s downtown Montreal campus, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaradis  Quantum Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. 

Current projects include the renovation and expansion of Toronto’s historic Massey Hall, the Music and Theater Arts Project in Walker Memorial Hall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the expansion of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. She is also partner-in-charge of the integrated design team for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, which was the winning scheme in an invited international design competition.

Born in Montreal, and educated at Swarthmore College and Yale University, McKenna was an associate at Barton Myers Associates, prior to the founding of KPMB Architects in 1987.  In 2010, McKenna was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by The Financial Post. She has lectured and acted as a guest critic at McGill University, L’Universite de Montreal, Laval University, the University of Toronto and Yale University. Marianne currently sits on the Board of Directors of Metrolinx as well as the Institute of Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Upon being invested, Marianne McKenna said, “For every Order of Canada, there are 1000 people dedicating their lives to making our country better. I am deeply grateful to receive this honour, which will serve as a daily reminder to focus on creating architecture that cultivates innovation, creativity, and community building.”