Project: Architectural Quality for Cultural Institutions in Canada: Shifting Definitions within Awards of Excellence
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant
Over the last two decades, the high profile of awards of excellence in Canada has thrown a spotlight on the question of architectural quality, especially in the design and construction of cultural institutions. In this period, the profession and discipline of architecture have faced the rise of two major paradigms: the imperative of environmentalism and the advent of new digital technologies have both led to radical changes in conceptual frameworks. It is our hypothesis that these major shifts have influenced the judgement of quality in our built environment and public buildings. We propose to make them explicit, theorising them through a series of comparative analyses of Canadian awards of excellence. How have the criteria of quality been established in Canadian awards since 1995? How is architectural judgement oscillating between the meaning of forms and environmental performance, symbolism and innovation?
We propose to catalogue, compare, and categorize architectural quality since the mid 1990s in Canada. In an overall corpus of more than 1300 building awards during the last two decades, we will examine a specific corpus of 150 cultural buildings, institutions such as libraries and civic centres which raise a widespread public interest in architectural quality. The research involves diachronic and synchronic discourse and formal analysis. We will compare ensembles of prize-winning buildings, decoding judgement criteria and deconstructing judging devices. From these analyses, we will develop mapping diagrams that are historical, theoretical, and critical, taking into consideration scale, program and function.
Jean-Pierre Chupin (PI)
Link to the ongoing research site: https://architecture-