Three students receive the new Moriyama RAIC Student Scholarships

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the RAIC Foundation are delighted to announce the three winners of the inaugural Moriyama RAIC International Prize BMO Financial Group Scholarships. They are:

• Loïc Jasmin, Université de Montréal

• Benny Kwok, Dalhousie University

• Shu Yin Wu, University of Waterloo

Each has won a $5,000 scholarship for writing an illustrated 1,000-word essay on the topic: “Why do I want to be an architect?”

The Moriyama RAIC Student Scholarships are new awards presented in conjunction with the biennial Moriyama RAIC International Prize in Architecture.

The awards will be presented at a gala event in Toronto on Oct. 11, 2014, at which time the winner of the inaugural Moriyama RAIC International Prize will also be introduced. The prize carries an award of CAD $100,000 and a sculpture by Canadian designer Wei Yu.

Students enrolled in every one of Canada’s 11 accredited schools of architecture submitted entries for the 2014 scholarships.

Says Barry Johns, chair of the RAIC Foundation Board of Trustees, “For such a simple question, I was singularly impressed by the depth to which students took the underlying meaning and responded with heartfelt and passionate views on the world of architecture.” 

The scholarships have been made possible by a $250,000 donation by the BMO Financial Group.

• Loïc Jasmin survived the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a tragedy that motivated him to learn architecture as a tool to rebuild his community — and help rebuild the lives housed in that community. He writes, “I want to be an architect because I have lived without architecture… My experience has taught me that architecture is the building block of society, giving it a framework in which to live, thrive and develop.” (translated from French).

For Benny Kwok, the simple human needs for shelter, community, and communication form the basis of his desire to become an architect. He reflects on his participation in a building workshop in Norway with particular insight. The students on his team, who came from around the world, could not communicate fluently in English but found a common language in architecture. “We learned that the most effective method of working was to engage with the beach and draw around our bodies in the sand, and engage with the tools and materials by building our ideas to their true size.”

Shu Yin Wu‘s desire to become an architect is tied to a vision of improving the lives of the 40-million Chinese who live in cave dwellings, known as Yaodong. The jury was impressed by her desire to bring light, culture and poetry to places, usually associated with poverty and backwardness, and particularly the way her design proposal animated her essay. She writes, “I want to be an architect to re-conceive Yaodong as a new shelter — a spiritual, as well as a physical shelter.”

A four-member jury evaluated submissions on the applicant’s expression of vision and aspiration, and on the strength of personal conviction.

The jury was comprised of Elsa Lam, MRAIC, editor of Canadian Architect magazine; Montreal architect Paule Boutin, FIRAC, proprietor of Paule Boutin Architecte and past president of the RAIC; Vancouver-based architect J. Robert Thibodeau, FIRAC, president of THIBODEAU Architecture + Design and Dean of the RAIC College of Fellows, and Maria Cook, RAIC manager of communications and advocacy.

Professional advisor David Covo, FRAIC, associate professor at the McGill University School of Architecture in Montreal, coordinated the selection process.

“The entrants’ personal stories, projects, and reflections were inspirational and, in many cases, moving,” says Elsa Lam, who served as chair. “The jury was impressed by the strong interest in this scholarship and found it challenging to choose only three winners. We wish each entrant the greatest success as they pursue their careers in architecture.”

For information about the Moriyama RAIC International Prize in Architecture and the Moriyama RAIC Student Scholarships, visit


The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is a voluntary national association, representing 4,800 members. The RAIC advocates for excellence in the built environment, works to demonstrate how design enhances the quality of life and promotes responsible architecture in addressing important issues of society. The RAIC Foundation promotes excellence in architecture and exchange between Canadian and international architects, clients, and policy makers.