MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is the 2014 recipient of the RAIC’s Architectural Firm Award

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects as the recipient of its 2014 Architectural Firm Award.

Founded in 1985 in Halifax, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects has built a reputation for design excellence – from a modest fisherman’s cottage on the Nova Scotia coast to the Canadian Chancery and Official Residence in Dhaka, Bangaldesh.

In choosing the 16-person firm, the jury noted that it has developed a distinctive contemporary architecture based on local building and craft traditions: “The work successfully expresses a strong connection with the Maritime region and its built heritage.”

Among about 200 built works are residential, cultural and academic projects.

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is one of the few Canadian firms to consistently receive international critical acclaim; it has won more than 100 awards for design. The work has been the subject of numerous television projections, including The Village Architect, narrated by no less an actor than Brad Pitt.

“The challenge is to maintain a childlike curiosity while trying to run a business,” says founding partner Brian MacKay-Lyons, FRAIC. “Teaching requires the architect to objectify the anecdotal experiences of practice into principles and it is through this relationship that we maintain our creativity as a firm.”

Brian MacKay-Lyons and Talbot Sweetapple, MRAIC, teach at Dalhousie University. Between 1994 and 2011, they hosted the Ghost International Architectural Laboratory, an architectural education centre, founded by MacKay-Lyons at his farm near Lunenburg.

“We consistently strive for excellence in our practice and in our teaching,” says Sweetapple. “It is a real honour to have our body of work recognized by the RAIC.”

The award will be presented at the RAIC Festival of Architecture, which takes place in Winnipeg May 28 to 31.

The RAIC Architectural Firm Award recognizes the achievements of a firm for its quality of architecture, service to clients and innovations in practice. It also takes into account contribution to architectural education and professional organizations, as well as public recognition.