RAIC Awards, Canada, Winner, Firm of the Year 2010, Buildings, Project, News, Design
R.A.I.C. Awards : Firm of the Year
Canadian Architecture Prize : Bing Thom Architects Inc. (BTA)
5 Mar 2010
RAIC Awards Firm of the Year
BING THOM ARCHITECTS WINS ROYAL ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA’S
2010 FIRM OF THE YEAR AWARD
BTA’s New Arena stage Project to open in Washington DC in October 2010 and New Monograph on the firm’s work to be published in the same month
RAIC Awards 2010
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada announced this week that it had selected Bing Thom Architects Inc. (BTA) as the recipient of its 2010 Architectural Firm Award.
Founded in 1982 in Vancouver, BTA has executed a wide spectrum of projects in Canada, Europe and China, from single-family residences to the design of entire cities. This year BTA will complete the firm’s first projects in the United States, giving Americans an opportunity to experience the work of these acclaimed designers up close – first with the reopening of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and followed by the opening of the East Trinity campus of Tarrant County College in Fort Worth Texas, which is the first phase of the Trinity River Uptown plan, the largest urban redevelopment currently being undertaken in the United States.
Principals Bing Thom and Michael Heeney, share a fundamental belief in the transformative power of great architecture to uplift, not only the physical, but also the economic and social conditions of a community. The firm’s belief in this power has become the grounding philosophy for the office, and has resulted in memorable architecture that consistently taps into something beyond aesthetics. BTA’s buildings are not just beautiful, they also add to the health of the communities in which they reside.
In selecting BTA, the Jury noted the firm “has developed a practice that seeks out inventive collaborations between stakeholders, as in the Surrey Central City project where the Simon Fraser University satellite campus was built on top of a commercial centre as a way to reactivate one of the largest suburbs in Canada. Their work with Fast + Epp engineers has produced highly innovative roof structures and their Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is one of the architectural jewels of Vancouver.”
BTA has long espoused the “Master Builder” approach to architecture, breaking down the isolation that often exists between design and construction and working directly with the contractors and trades to develop innovative and cost effective solutions to unusual building configurations. BTA’s professional practice is enriched through the work of BTAworks, an independent research and development group that helps BTA to understand the demography and trends in the communities in which BTA works and that helps the firm stay on the forefront of sustainable applications in architecture.
This coming October, BTA’s new Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will open – the firm’s first major U.S. commission to be completed. Arena Stage is one of the most famous regional theaters the U.S. but the original complex, built in the 1960s, as well the surrounding area, had deteriorated significantly by the time BTA was hired. The firm devised an ingenious design that saves and reuses the two original, historic theater buildings – while adding the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle, a versatile new experimental theater. By wrapping all three buildings in a 55-foot-high laminated-glass skin and topping them with a heroic cantilevered roof, BTA combines the old and new to create an imaginative and forceful theatrical compound that has already become a catalyst for the revitalization of Southwest Washington D.C.
Benjamin Forgey, former architectural critic for The Washington Post, called BTA’s plan, “a sweet, brilliantly outgoing design . . . it’ll do wonders for both the theater and its rather isolated urban neighborhood.” He also wrote, “People will come to look at, as well as be in, this building. Its transparency will be compelling day and night. Striking structural elements, such as towering mast-like wood columns, fit the setting perfectly. The assortment of buildings will form an enticing little cityscape. And then there is the astonishing roof with its impossible-seeming 170-foot cantilever, hovering cloudlike over the whole.”
RAIC Awards Firm of the Year images / information from RAIC