In 1997, Sheri Craig, then publisher and editor of Canadian Interiors, created the Best of Canada design competition. As she notes in her May/June 1998 editorial, announcing the winners of the first awards, “In the beginning, there was a small idea that kept growing. It started off as a concept to help Canadian designers market their work internationally. A special magazine issue to promote Canadian design was proposed. Then a competition was suggested to select interesting products and projects.” Cut to present day, with 17 years of awards under our belt (including 2014), honouring a total of 257 projects and 101 products. Craig would be proud.
KPMB Architects has won the most project awards – 19 in total – from the very first installment of the awards in 1998 (for the Ammirati Puris Lintas ad agency in Manhattan) to the very latest this year (for Torys LLP Calgary law office and for Bridgepoint Active Healthcare in Toronto). Of the remaining 16 projects, four were named Project of the Year (originally known as Best of Show): a waterfront penthouse in Toronto (2001); Lexus Lounge in Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall (2004); The Royal Conservatory in Toronto’s Telus Centre for Performance and Learning (2010); and CIGI Campus in Waterloo, Ont. (2012).
KPMB, of course, stands for its founding members: Bruce Kuwabara, Thomas Payne (who left the firm in 2013 to launch his own practice), Marianne McKenna and Shirley Blumberg. In the firm’s own words, “KPMB is one of Canada’s leading architectural studios. Founded in 1987 as a hybrid studio model, KPMB offers an alternative to either the sole practitioner of the large corporate firm, merging individual creativity, collaborative team work and professional practice.”
With just two wins less than KMPB (17 in total), Burdfilek is the runner up. Tying for third place are II BY IV and Giannone Petricone Associates, with 10 each. And tied for fourth, with nine awards each, are Johnson Chou and Dialogue 38.
Other multiple winners (three or more) include 3rd Uncle, Ædifica, Bartlett & Associates, Cecconi Simone, Core Architects, Drew Mandel Architects, Dubbledam Architecture + Design, Figure3, Gow Hastings Architects, Kasian, LemayMichaud, MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Menkes Shooner Dagenais Letourneux Architectes, Munge Leung, Plant Architect, Taylor Smyth Architects and Teeple Architects.
My best to them – and to all Best of Canada winners through the years. cI