Shortlist announced for 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announce the shortlisted projects for the 2017 Moriyama RAIC International PrizeThe four shortlisted projects are located in Tokyo, Japan; Copenhagen, Denmark; Melbourne, Australia; and the village of Upper Kingsburg in Nova Scotia, Canada. 

The Prize, which was established in 2014 by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama along with the RAIC and the RAIC Foundation, consists of a monetary award of CAD $100,000 and a handcrafted sculpture designed by Canadian designer Wei Yew. The Prize celebrates a single work of architecture that is judged to be transformative within its societal context and reflects Moriyama’s conviction that great architecture transforms society by promoting social justice and humanistic values of respect and inclusiveness.

The Prize, awarded every two years, is open to all architects, irrespective of nationality and location. The winner is selected in an open, juried competition. This year’s jury of experts has considered a range of criteria in the evaluation of submissions, which were received from 17 countries across four continents, and will visit the shortlisted projects.

The winner of the 2017 Prize will be announced on September 19, 2017, at the RAIC’s gala event at The Carlu, a historic event space in Toronto and one of the city’s best examples of Art Moderne architecture. In addition to the main CAD $100,000 prize, three scholarships of CAD $5,000 each will be awarded to three students of Canadian schools of architecture on the basis of a written essay. 

“I’m hoping the architects are all trying to raise the life of the community,” says Raymond Moriyama, FRAIC. “The Prize is aimed at encouraging architects to be service-oriented rather than just focusing on producing something that looks good in magazines. It’s to serve the community and humanity.”

“These projects celebrate human life and shape activity,” says RAIC President Ewa Bieniecka, FIRAC. “They embody innovation, contribute to how we experience space, and explore how spaces allow opportunities for freedom. The four shortlisted projects demonstrate how architecture is generous and gives back to the community. These works have a strong sense of place and connect to their surrounding landscape.”

“The jury was very encouraged to see an increased international interest from a total of 17 countries and four continents,” says Barry Johns, FRAIC, Jury Chair and a Trustee of the RAIC Foundation. “It clearly shows that the Prize is growing in stature around the world, and that is very gratifying. Moreover, the general project submissions demonstrated a high level of engagement with the demanding aims and objectives found in the terms of reference for this unique award, and the four shortlisted projects are extraordinary in this regard.”

Details of the shortlisted projects for the 2017 Prize are as follows:

8 House, Copenhagen, Denmark
BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)
Date of occupancy: 2010

8 House is a mixed-use residential building located in the neighborhood of Ørestad South, outside of Copenhagen, situated beside a canal with views of the Kalvebod Fælled fields. With 475 units that vary in size and layout,the building meets the needs of people in all of life’s stages: young and old, families and single people, growing and shrinking households. Within the 61,994-square-meter building, the tranquility of suburban life goes hand-in-hand with the energy of a big city. Common areas and facilities are linked by a universally accessible sidewalk that functions as a major artery connecting each of the residential units with the urban fabric, including offices, a kindergarten, and a café, on the ground floor. The structure’s bow shape allows apartments to benefit from natural light, air, and exterior views. Instead of providing car parking, 8 House prioritizes ease of access to public transit and bike paths.

“This is a bold and beautifully integrated mix of multigenerational housing and universally accessible design,” said the jury. “8 House is a worthwhile experiment in the development of a new typology to create a vertical mixed-use community. It offers a more durable way of densifying housing while maintaining a human scale.”

BIG is a group of architects, designers, and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, interior design, landscape design, product design, research, and development, with offices in New York City, Copenhagen, and London.

Fuji Kindergarten, Tokyo, Japan
Tezuka Architects
Date of occupancy: 2007

Fuji Kindergarten is a one-story, oval-shaped kindergarten that accommodates over 600 children running around its open-air roof. Some children run more than six kilometers a day. The building complements the educational philosophy that children flourish in an open, free, and natural environment with a strong sense of community. The architectural spaces were designed at the scale of a child, creating a close relationship between the ground and rooftop levels. Three Zelkova trees grow through the structure for children to climb on. Between April and November, the sliding doors are open. There are no clear boundaries between classrooms; boxes used as furniture and 1.8-meter-tall panels indicate different areas. The principal reports that the school’s approach encourages calmness and focus, including in children with behavioral disorders. “We want the children raised here to grow into people who do not exclude anything or anyone,” say the architects.

“This is an extraordinarily positive place,” said the jury, which called the kindergarten “a giant playhouse filled with joy and energy, scaled to a broad range of the human condition. This architecture in its simplicity and uniqueness embodies a pedagogical ideology of early education. The limitless structure of the space liberates the child’s imagination.”

Established in 1994 and led by Takaharu and Yui Tezuka, Tezuka Architects is a Tokyo-based firm that has built a range of apartments and houses, office and commercial buildings, and educational and community spaces.

Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
John Wardle Architects and NADAAA
Date of occupancy: 2014

The Melbourne School of Design embraces the emerging notion that the studio is not only a room or space, but a way of learning that favors the acts of doing, making, and problem solving in a critical yet collaborative environment. In this definition, the entire building has become the studio. The structure continues a sequence of outdoor rooms arrayed across the campus through a Piranesian lacing of pathways with unusually wide corridors, which provide workspaces and the opportunity for students to be exposed to each other’s work. As an architectural school, the building is active in the education of its occupants and visitors through its clarity of materials, tectonics, and organization. It addresses the use of resources, challenges conventional means and methods of project delivery, and considers its own life-cycle implications as a building. The Melbourne School of Design has become a place where anyone can come to learn about design, education, and sustainability.

“The spatial concept of an architecture school has become the social focus of the University of Melbourne campus for all students,” said the jury. “It is a beautifully orchestrated space, thoughtfully detailed and well crafted. It redefines the educational mission by engaging students with the entire building as a collaborative learning environment.”

Founded byJohn Wardle in 1986, Melbourne-based John Wardle Architects (JWA) has built a range of projects, from small dwellings to university buildings, museums, public spaces, high-density housing, and large commercial offices. NADAAA is a Boston and New York–based architecture and urban design firm as well as a platform for design investigation at a large scale with great geographic reach. 

The Village Architect
Shobac Campus, Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, Canada
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Date of occupancy: 1994–ongoing

In 35 years of practice, Brian MacKay-Lyons, “the village architect,” has built more than 40 houses in the Kingsburg community. Shobac Campus has formed over 25 years in Upper Kingsburg, along the Nova Scotia coastline. With the help of friends, neighbors, and colleagues, MacKay-Lyons cleared the forest, revealing historic ruins and uncovering 400 years of agrarian history. In 1994, he gathered a group of architecture students for a two-week event with the aim of reconnecting with the master-builder tradition and focusing on the timeless values of landscape, building, and community. They erected the first structure, mirroring an archetypal farmhouse. This became a tradition that continued for 12 successive years, resulting in the addition of new structures. What began as a design/build laboratory has evolved into a place for community events, a school, and a studio for local building practice. Integrating practice and teaching, family and community, Shobac Campus is an argument for landscape stewardship through agricultural and architectural cultivation.

“In this age of specialization, this contrarian initiative questions the architect’s accepted role, and suggests a broadening rather than a narrowing of the current scope of practice,” said the jury. “In so doing, the architect is reestablished at the center rather than at the periphery of critical decision making.”

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Led by Brian MacKay-Lyons and Talbot Sweetapple, the practice works locally and internationally on cultural, academic, and residential projects, providing full architectural and interior design services.

The jury for the 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize consists of: 

  • Monica Adair,MRAIC: Co-founder of Acre Architects and 2015 Recipient of the RAIC Young Architect Award.
  • Manon Asselin,MRAIC: Co-founder of Atelier TAG and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Montreal.
  • Bryan Avery, MBE: Founder of Avery Associates Architects, author, and lecturer.
  • George Baird,FRAIC: Founding Principal of Baird Sampson Neuert Architects; former Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto; and 2010 Recipient of the RAIC Gold Medal.
  • Peter Cardew, FRAIC:Founder of Peter Cardew Architects and 2012 Recipient of the RAIC Gold Medal.
  • Barry Johns, FRAIC: Jury Chair and Chancellor of the RAIC College of Fellows.
  • Li Xiaodong, Hon. FAIA: Winner of the inaugural Moriyama RAIC International Prize.

David Covo, FRAIC, Associate Professor of Architecture at McGill University, is the Professional Advisor to the jury.

For more information on the 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize, please visit: