Vancouver, BC, Canada – The Royal Architecture Institute of Canada (RAIC) announced today that MGA | Michael Green Architecture has been awarded two Governor General’s Medals in Architecture, the highest distinction given to an architectural project in Canada. The awards recognize the firm’s design of Ronald McDonald House BC & Yukon and the Wood Innovation and Design Centre – two milestone projects that represent MGA’s passion and commitment to community through meaningful architecture and innovation.
“The recipients of these awards are among Canada’s finest architects,” said His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. “I’m delighted to see such deserving projects being recognized and I offer my sincere congratulations to the recipients.”
The awards build on national recognition for MGA’s work, including a 2015 RAIC Innovation Award and previous Governor General’s Awards. The awards program, created by the RAIC and jointly administered with the Canada Council for the Arts, honours twelve projects every two years. It serves as an important contribution to the development of the discipline and practice of architecture, and increases public awareness of architecture as a vital cultural force in Canadian society.
MGA’s two distinct, award-winning projects not only showcase significant innovation in wood engineering and construction, but also demonstrate new approaches to enduring, socially-focused and sustainable design. Ronald McDonald House BC & Yukon and the Wood Innovation and Design Centre were each completed in late 2014.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE BC & YUKON (RMHBC)
The new RMHBC provides a ‘home-away-from-home’ for BC and Yukon families with children receiving treatment at BC Children’s Hospital. From the beginning of the design process, MGA’s approach was to create a solution that would feel like a home and not a hotel. The firm sought to preserve the nurturing, social connection that was found in the former 12-family house through the design of the new – much larger – 73-family facility.
The design of the House fosters inclusiveness and community building, and allows families to find both solace and connection as they go through one of the most significant and challenging moments of life. The new House is comprised of four smaller houses, each stitched together with common areas such as dining rooms, living rooms and courtyards.
The new House is intended to serve the RMHBC charity for the duration of its 100-year lease. To achieve this, the design team introduced significant innovations in mass timber architecture by developing a hybrid CLT wall and TJI floor system combined with masonry cladding. It is the first example globally of this approach as a strategy to create a highly durable and cost-effective solution with low maintenance requirements.
RMHBC has been recognized with a series of prestigious awards, including a Lieutenant-Governor of BC Award in Architecture, a North American Wood Design Award, and most recently was named a finalist in the Architizer A+ Awards. The project was begun at MGA’s predecessor firm, mcfarlane green biggar Architecture + Design and completed at MGA. Michael Green was the Project Principal throughout.
WOOD INNOVATION AND DESIGN CENTRE (WIDC)
Completed in 2014, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) has been recognized as a demonstration project in BC and around the globe. Realized as a design-build in just 15 months, WIDC is one of the world’s tallest modern all-timber structures, standing eight-storeys and 29.5m.
WIDC demonstrates that tall timber buildings can be economical, safe and environmentally superior options for future urban development. It serves to inspire institutions, private sector developers and other architects and engineers to embrace this way of building. Michael Green has been known as the champion of the tall wood building movement for over a decade, and his design of WIDC is an early built example of this global trend.
This project has set many precedents internationally through extensive engineering research and testing to prove the safety and validity of mass timber construction techniques. The work completed and innovations proven have removed hurdles and opened up the market for more tall timber projects to come.
“We are grateful to the vision of so many partners on this project including our client, the Government of BC and the people of BC,” says Michael Green, Principal. “The Wood Innovation Design Centre is more than a building. It is a seed for our forest, our environment, our jobs and our communities. The project is only the beginning of a new way of building here in Canada and around the world. It is a demonstration of how sustainable forestry and sustainable buildings can build jobs across BC and a more beautiful future for our province.”
WIDC has received numerous prestigious awards since its completion, including the RAIC Innovation Award, a Lieutenant-Governor of BC Award in Architecture, the Architectural Institute of BC Innovation Award, as well as several North American Wood Design Awards.
Submissions were adjudicated by an international jury, including Annmarie Adams, FRAIC – William C Macdonald Professor,McGill University School of Architecture, Vanessa Miriam Carlow – Founder, COBE Berlin,
Gary Hack – Dean Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Richard Henriquez, FRAIC – Founding Partner, Henriquez Partners Architects and Todd Saunders – Principal, Saunders Architecture.
The awards will be presented on September 20 in Ottawa. Michael Green and MGA Associates Natalie Telewiak and Mingyuk Chen will travel for the special ceremony with the Governor General at Rideau Hall.
ABOUT MGA | MICHAEL GREEN ARCHITECTURE
MGA is a mid-sized architecture and interior design firm founded to focus on progressive architecture, research, education and innovation. The firm’s passion for diversity has built a depth and breadth of experience that has led to the creation of successful, award-winning buildings around the world. With offices in Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR, MGA’s team of 25 designers deliver inviting buildings that are a pleasure to learn, work, live or play in. MGA and its non-profit research and design school DBR | Design Build Research are dedicated to bringing attention to overwhelming challenges in architecture today such as climate change and the worldwide demand for new affordable homes. Michael Green is known internationally for his leadership in tall wood innovation and carbon-neutral urban building approaches. His 2013 TED talk on Why We Should Build Wooden Skyscrapers has been viewed over a million times.