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Ontario Association of Architects names raw design Best Emerging Practice


The new architectural studio raw design has been awarded the Best Emerging Practice Award by the Ontario Association of Architects. The award recognizes the outstanding vision of new firms and innovation in a number of areas including a creative approach to business.

“Raw Design demonstrated innovation in all aspects, not just architecture and design but in all aspects of their practice, including their business model, firm structure and even their office layout. Raw Design demonstrates a desire to go back to first principles, to question the industry standard and identify a better way of doing things,” says Antonio Gómez-Palacio, founding partner of Office for Urbanism and Chair, OAA Best Emerging Practice Award, 2009.

Raw exhibits a different attitude about how architecture is practiced. There are no hierarchical job distinctions and staff share in all profits. The studio is a collaborative workshop that encourages new thinking. Most recently staff were sponsored to participate in the Spacing Magazine competition and honoured with the Urban Design Award for designers under 35. Serena Lee a member of the raw Design team says, “We are not confined to the definition and style of the practice; rather, we are encouraged to define the work we do with our individual background, experience, and expertise. The studio is an open platform on which we share and combine ideas through design.”

Clients have come to expect a high level of graphic ability from raw that allows them to quickly produce convincing, clear concepts. Already shortlisted for a number of significant projects, raw Design often collaborates with international firms on work here in Canada and abroad. Roland Rom Colthoff says, “When clients meet with us they realize there is a group of us and that we value everyone’s input, not just the directors. We’re purposefully doing something different and this is reflected in our work.  To have this recognized and valued, in one short year, by our peers is very gratifying.”