When you ponder Canada's many contributions to the annals of architecture, Saskatoon might not jump immediately to mind. But Canadian Architect magazine has awarded the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, one of its eight 2011 Awards of Excellence. Toronto-based Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects designed the building, in association with Smith Carter Architects and Engineers
The publication gives the awards each year to architects and architectural graduates for buildings in the design stage. The art gallery, which is set to break ground next year and open in 2015, will replace the city's 47-year-old Mendel Art Gallery. Its new name is in reference to The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, which fronted the $30 million that will be needed to build and operate the new facility.
Saskatoon is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada. The new building is going up along the South Saskatchewan River and is part the River Landing, a large redevelopment plan that is decades in the making. A performing arts center and theater have already been built in the area and hopes are pinned on the new art gallery to help further revitalize the area.
It will also echo a tradition for modernist architecture in Saskatoon, says an article in The StarPhoenix. Ian Chodikoff, editor of Canadian Architect, said:
Saskatoon has a very rich history of modernist architecture, but I’m not sure much architectural attention has been paid to the city in recent years and we felt this was a really worthwhile project. The challenge of building is that it’s on a riverside side and it was particularly skilfull in how they dealt with the site and dealt with the material and dealt with an approach to relate the regional aspects of the prairies into the design.
The other seven projects that received the magazine's awards are:
* B+H Bunting Coady Architects Inc. for the West Coast Middle School in Anmore, British Columbia
* Patkau Architects Inc. in joint venture with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. for the Fort York National Historic Site Visitor Centre in Toronto, Ontario
* gh3 Architects and Landscape Architects, R.V. Anderson Associates Limited forSWQF in Toronto, Ontario
* Zeidler Partnership Architects in joint venture with SNØHETTA for the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre in Toronto, Ontario
* Williamson Chong Architects for Abbey Gardens in Haliburton County, Ontario
* Saucier + Perrotte architectes in joint venture with Hughes Condon Marler Architects for the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences/CDRD in Vancouver, British Columbia
* MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited for the Two Hulls House in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia
Image: Canadian Architect