Marianne McKenna

Founding Partner, O.C., FRAIC, OAA, OAQ, AIA, RIBA

Marianne is a founding partner of KPMB Architects and one of Canada’s foremost architects. Honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to creating “architecture that enriches the public experience,” she is a strong advocate for putting architecture into the service of fostering community. She was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Financial Post, and in 2019 one of the top 30 ‘outstanding women in architecture and design’ by Azure.

Born and raised in Montreal, Marianne was educated at Swarthmore College and Yale University, earning a Masters in Architecture in 1976. She joined Barton Myers Associates in 1980, before co-founding Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) in 1987. Since then, Marianne has been partner-in-charge of a multitude of projects for major cultural and educational institutions, as well as corporate and commercial clients in the United States and Canada. Her particular emphasis is on blending community building and sustainability, tradition and innovation, and designing for the most positive impact on the urban and natural environment.

The architecture of concert halls is a particular area of focus. The Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, and its associated Koerner Hall, have earned international acclaim and a Governor General’s Medal. Praised by artists from Valery Gergiev to Yo-Yo Ma it is described as the ‘jewel in the crown of Toronto’s Cultural Renaissance.’ For her dedication to this project, Marianne was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory. For Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Marianne steered the design to realize the client’s business objectives, earning the project an Architectural Record Good Design is Good Business Award. Marianne is currently leading restoration/expansion projects for Toronto’s iconic Massey Hall and the Jenny Belzberg Theatre at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

As partner-in-charge, Marianne has led a diverse range of educational projects for science, engineering, and liberal arts programs. These include the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (Governor General’s Medal), the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo, the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre*, and Le Quartier Concordia*, an integrated vertical campus for Concordia University in downtown Montreal. Recently she completed the first phase of a campus expansion for The Brearley School, a private school for girls in New York. She is currently partner-in-charge of the Center for Computing & Data Sciences building for Boston University.

Her diverse expertise extends to projects such as the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a watershed in sustainable design, and currently, the restoration and expansion of the Park Hyatt hotel and residence in Toronto. Her workplace strategy experience includes projects for Torys LLP, Woodbridge Co. Ltd, and Gluskin Sheff and Associates. She also directed the award-winning Master Plan for Ryerson University* (American Institute of Architects Honor Award, 2009).

Marianne was the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Architecture in 2016. She served for six years on the board of Metrolinx, Ontario’s public transportation agency, during a period of expansion. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University. In June 2017, Marianne received her Honorary Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa) degree from Laurentian University.

Featured Projects

Boston University, Center for Computing & Data Sciences
Boston, Massachusetts, 2022
Bloor Street United Church: 300 Bloor West
Toronto, Ontario, 2024
Massey Hall Renovation and Expansion
Toronto, Ontario, 2015 (Phase 1); 2021 (Phase 2)
Park Hyatt, Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, 2021
Jenny Belzberg Theatre, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Banff, Alberta, 2020
The Brearley School
New York City, New York, 2019
Lloyd Hall Renovation, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Banff, Alberta, 2018
The Globe and Mail Office Interiors and Corporate Event Space
Toronto, Ontario, 2017
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois, 2017
Thornwood House
Toronto, Ontario, 2016
St. Michael’s Cathedral Block Master Plan
Toronto, Ontario, 2015
Torys LLP, Montreal
Montreal, Quebec, 2015
Orchestra Hall Renewal, Minnesota Orchestra
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2013
The Joseph L. Rotman School of Management Expansion, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, 2012
Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, 2012
Roy Thomson Hall (Wine Bar & Enhancement)
Toronto, Ontario, 2012 (Wine Bar); 2002 (Enhancement)
Conrad Hotel
New York City, New York, 2012
Torys LLP, Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, 2012
Le Quartier Concordia
Montreal, Quebec, 2011 (Guy-Métro Building Recladding); 2009 (John Molson School of Business); 2005 (Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science)
Rosedale Clubhouse Enhancement Feasibility Study
Toronto, Ontario, 2010
Branksome Hall Master Plan Update
Toronto, Ontario, 2009
Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning / Koerner Hall
Toronto, Ontario, 2009
Torys LLP, Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, 2008
CTV Executive Offices
Toronto, Ontario, 2008
St. Andrew’s College
Aurora, Ontario, 2003
McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre
Montreal, Quebec, 2003
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 2001
McKee Public School
North York, Ontario, 1998
Royal Conservatory, Ettore Mazzoleni Hall
Toronto, Ontario, 1997
Grand Valley Institution for Women
Kitchener, Ontario, 1996
Kitchener City Hall
Kitchener, Ontario, 1993
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