Ontario’s top 10 architects: Designing the future of our industry

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Ontario's new Construction Act, once regulations are set and proclaimed, will change the fundamental industry practices

Ontario Construction Report staff writer

            There are many ways to recognize architectural excellence. The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), for example, has a key annual competition, with a diversity of categories. There are Urban Design Awards, marketing communication recognitions, and specialist awards for different building materials and categories (such as the WoodWORKS awards.)

            This listing of the top 10 Ontario Architects reflects an amalgam of our experience, relationships, and perceptions. While this isn’t a scientific group – there are many other architects worthy of recognition – it provides a clue about some of the diversity, initiative and talent within the province’s architectural community. We’ve included some nationally, even internationally, recognized firms, and others who have primarily taken a leadership role in their local communities. This list includes forward thinking practices which have embraced community engagement, the environment and effective, integrated service delivery.

            Quoted descriptions and remarks are generally from the architects’ own websites or communications, unless otherwise noted. With the exception of Studio JCI, with a sponsored listing, we’ve randomized the order here, so the placement of names here should not be seen as a ranking within the top 10.

Studio JCI

            This Toronto based architect designs mixed-use, mid-rise developments, multi-unit residential developments, and commercial and office interiors. Studio JCI believes “that we can instigate positive change and transformation by bringing design to areas where it is often ignored, and we look for opportunities in every project to re-examine conventional solutions.” (See sponsored profile.)

Chamberlain Architect Services Ltd.

            Over its 30-year history, Chamberlain Architect Services Ltd., based in Burlington, has been pioneers in the use of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Information Modelling (BIM), using “the latest technology and processes available to create cutting edge, sustainable and relevant solutions.” The practice has developed a renowned expertise in the hospitality sector, though that certainly isn’t its exclusive focus.

+VG Architects

            Originated by W.M. Smale in 1952, and re-established as Ventin Architects in 1972, the firm has become known for “innovative approaches to the design of heritage, cultural, educational, municipal, justice, residential and recreational buildings including heritage restorations, additions, and new buildings.”

Raimondo + Associates Architects Inc.

            The evolution of Watkinson Associates Architect Inc. and Piraino + Raimondo Associate Architects Inc. into Raimondo + Associates Architects Inc. represents a team that “has amassed more than 20 years of experience with retaining files and drawings of various project types and complexities” and “has a depth of staffing unsurpassed in the Niagara Peninsula.”

Christopher Simmonds Architect

Since 1996, Christopher Simmonds Architect has grown to be “recognized as one of Ottawa’s leading practitioners of contemporary architecture.” The firm’s “commitment to design excellence has led to a diversity of award winning projects, including modern, single-family homes and cottages, as well as cultural institutions, multi-unit residential buildings, and commercial spaces.”

Baldwin & Franklin Architects Inc.

            Through its offices in Toronto and New York, and over its 30-year history, Baldwin & Franklin Architects has developed an “international reputation for creating imaginative, practical designs for demanding projects.”

KPMB Architects

Internationally recognized KPMB Architects has earned more than 250 awards for its “unique hybrid form of architecture and practice, developed to respond to our multi-cultural, dynamically changing world” which is “manifested in the diversity of the portfolio for culture, education, healthcare and paradigm shifting climate responsive design.”

Strasman Architects

Since its founding in 1976, Strasman Architects Inc. “developed an early reputation for design excellence recognized by a number of design distinctions and awards at the regional and national levels” for its “long lasting, relevant work that stands the test of time.”

McCallum Sather Architects Inc.

            Through its 20-year history McCallum Sather has “achieved an impressive record of industry firsts” including the “first LEED Gold Certified building under the CaGBC, the first Net Zero building in Ontario and the largest Net Zero facility in Canada.”

Panici Architect Inc.

            Since 1985 Venerino V.P. Panici Architect Inc. (Panici Architect) has commissioned a “wide variety of project types and scales over a diverse field of practice” developed with a focus on “responsible services which place top priority on understanding and fulfilling clients’ needs.”

Do you know of an Ontario architect who should be considered for the 2018 Ontario Construction Report Top 10 list? Please let us know, by sending an introductory email to chase@ontarioconstructionreport.com.


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