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Year in Review: The highlights of 2023

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December 21, 2023

This year, we celebrated project openings, milestones, and awards. We made headlines around the world. We revealed a new brand identity. We expanded our efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in our workplace and the broader architecture and design community. We were named one of Canada’s Top Employers for new graduates. And we furthered our mission to design built environments that catalyze positive change. 

As we head into the new year, join us in looking back at a few highlights from 2023. 

Milestones for our projects, our people, and our firm

In February, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) announced a $500-million-dollar campaign to support its new Research & Discovery Centre. Designed with TreanorHL, the Research & Discovery Centre is part of a multiyear revitalization project we embarked on in 2002 to transform CAMH from a walled institution into a welcoming, urban village.  

In April we celebrated the opening of TD Music Hall, one of four venues in the new Allied Music Centre (home of the revitalized Massey Hall) and the anniversary of the new Ottawa Art Gallery. In May, principal Olga Pushkar was inducted into the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s College of Fellows. And in June, the Center for Computing & Data Sciences became the first building at Boston University to achieve LEED Platinum. 

We also celebrated founding partner Marianne McKenna’s honorary degree from her alma mater, Swarthmore College; founding partner Bruce Kuwabara’s commencement address to graduates from the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto; founding partner Shirley Blumberg’s presentation at the World Architecture Festival (WAF); partner Bruno Weber’s participation in the 2023 WAF jury, and managing partner Phyllis Crawford’s article, Mixed Prospects, in the November edition of Canadian Architect. 

And last month, we celebrated the evolution of our firm with the announcement of a new brand identity!  

Connecting with our community

Continuing the work to foster and advance our EDI efforts, we collaborated with Black Architects and Interior Designers Association Canada (BAIDA), Building Equality in Architecture Toronto (BEAT), and Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag to amplify diverse voices. We held workshops and events for Women’s History Month, Indigenous History Month, Pride Month, and other diverse observances.  

We also welcomed the public into our offices as part of Doors Open Toronto, hosted a behind-the-scenes tour of the revitalized Massey Hall with the Toronto Society of Architects and designed “canstructures” for Canstruction and gingerbread houses for Gingerbread Build for the City in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Red Door Family Shelter. 

In September, founding partner Bruce Kuwabara donated 900 books from his personal collection to the library at the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University, where a KPMB-funded bursary — Indigenous Design Excellence Award (IDEA) — provides financial support to Indigenous students studying architecture. 

Celebrating award wins

For 36 years, we’ve been designing projects that aim to leave a lasting impact on people, and having our work recognized is always a joy.  

The Center for Computing & Data Sciences’ win at WAF this December topped off a year of accolades for our firm that began in January with a ceremony at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall where Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, presented us with our 2022 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. 

The Center also won an Interior Design magazine Best of Year Award and a Best of Canada Award from Canadian Interiors magazine, received an honourable mention at the Metropolis Planet Positive Awards, and was named Climate Change Project of the Year by the Environmental Business Council of New England. 

The Montreal Holocaust Museum received a special mention in the Architizer A+ Awards and won a WAFX Award; Harrison McCain Pavilion and Dream LeBreton won AZ Awards; the Downsview Framework Plan took home a Toronto Urban Design Award; the Massey Hall Renovation and Expansion received an honourable mention at the International Architecture Awards; and Park Hyatt Toronto won a Global Excellence Award. 

Making waves in the press

Our projects graced the pages of Canadian Architect, AZURE, MacLean’s, Condé Nast Traveler, The Globe & Mail, Interior Design magazine, Domus, THE PLAN, Hypebeast, Dezeen, Wallpaper*, Monocle, Architectural Record, The Architect’s Newspaper, Bloomberg CityLab, and C3MAGAZINE. 

The Leaf was lauded as “a feat of engineering and an ode to the Canadian prairies,” The Center was hailed as “a model for geothermal engineering,” Harrison McCain Pavilion was named one of the best architecture projects of 2023, and Tyndale Green was featured in AZURE’s 300th anniversary issue. 

Untapped Journal acknowledged our commitment to sustainability and design excellence through our work for Kindred Works. AZURE recognized our “spectacular post-secondary building portfolio,” and Archello named us one of Canada’s best architecture firms. 

We’re grateful to our team, our clients, and collaborators whose passion and creativity help us solve today’s challenges through architecture and design. Without them, we could not have had such a successful year!