Azure’s 30 (More) Essential Women in Architecture and Design, with Shirley Blumberg & Marianne McKenna
24. Shirley Blumberg & 25. Marianne McKenna, KPMB, Canada
When Toronto’s KPMB launched in early 1987 – and quickly established itself as one of Canada’s top firms with projects like the Design Exchange in Toronto – it was widely noted for the equal gender balance among its four partners. The two female co-founders, Marianne McKenna and Shirley Blumberg, ran the collaborative practice alongside Bruce Kuwabara and Tom Payne until 2013 when that gender balance shifted in the female favour following Payne’s departure.
In addition to leading acclaimed projects such as McKenna’s Koerner Hall in Toronto and Blumberg’s Remai Modern in Saskatoon, both have been invested into the Order of Canada. Also of note: McKenna was deemed one of Canada’s 50 most powerful people in 2014. And Blumberg founded Building Equality in Architecture Toronto in 2015, an organization that has since gone national, with chapters all over Canada.