Bruce Kuwabara is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading architects. Throughout his career, his work has integrated architectural excellence, innovation, city building, and sustainable design, and has contributed to raising the standards of contemporary architecture and urbanism, in Canada and abroad. For this work, he is the recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Gold Medal (2006), the Ontario Association of Architects Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), and an honorary doctorate from McMaster University (2016). In 2012 Mr. Kuwabara was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for shaping “our built landscape in lasting ways.”
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Mr. Kuwabara earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto in 1972. He worked at George Baird Architects and Barton Myers Associates before co-founding Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) in 1987. Since then Mr. Kuwabara’s leadership and commitment to architectural excellence has been influential in establishing KPMB as one of Canada’s premiere architectural practices, and recipient of hundreds of awards for design excellence, including 16 Governor General Awards for Architecture.
Long before climate change became a public concern, Kuwabara advocated for the integration of aesthetics and sustainable performance. As KPMB’s design principal for the Canadian Embassy in Berlin (joint venture of KPMB with Gagnon Letellier Cyr Architectes, and Smith Carter Architects + Engineers), he adapted European strategies for reducing energy consumption in architecture. These lessons would later greatly influence his future projects in Canada, particularly Manitoba Hydro Place in downtown Winnipeg, which continues to be recognized as an exemplar of ecologically innovative, energy-efficient building design.
Mr. Kuwabara’s diverse portfolio encompasses cultural, civic, educational, hospitality, healthcare, and performing arts projects across North America as well as in Europe. Notable cultural work includes Canada’s National Ballet School, the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, and the Remai Modern public art museum in Saskatchewan. Educational projects include the Kellogg School of Management at the Northwestern University, the Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building and Louis A. Simpson International Building at Princeton University, and the Destination Project at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, adjacent to Arthur Erickson’s iconic University Hall (1971).
As cities continue to experience exponential population growth, Mr. Kuwabara is increasingly taking a leadership role in the formation of interdisciplinary teams to design and deliver large-scale urban infrastructure projects. This work includes winning design competition schemes for the Athlete’s Village for the 2015 Toronto Pan/Parapan Athlete’s Village/Canary District in Toronto, Pier 8 in Hamilton, Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park.
Current clients include the Contemporary Calgary Art Gallery (Expansion and Renovation of the 1967 Centennial Planetarium), Boston University (Center for Computing and Data Sciences), Brookfield (Bay-Adelaide Centre North Tower), the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
A strong advocate of Canadian architecture and architects, Kuwabara has held teaching positions at the University of Toronto, Harvard University, the University of Waterloo, and Cornell University and continues to serve as a critic and guest lecturer at universities across North America. He also continues to serve on competition and award juries in Canada, the United States and Europe. Mr. Kuwabara served as the first Chair of Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel. He is the currently Chair of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal and a Member of the Campaign Cabinet for the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.