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Joan of Architecture

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The Montreal Gazette is ebullient in its celebration of the 80th birthday of Phyllis Lambert, North America’s most generous and knowledgeable patron of architecture. Most noted for persuading her father Samuel Bronfman to appoint Mies van der Rohe to design the Seagram building in 1954, and for founding the Canadian Centre for Architecture, she is dubbed by the paper ‘Joan of Architecture’. The party, according to the Gazette, included a birthday cake by Peter Eisenman featuring Seagram and a classical column. It describes Lambert as looking ‘as inscrutably middle-aged as ever’, dressed ‘in a pleated black Issey Miyake dress with boa (she disallowed ‘gown’ as a ‘silly’ word)’. Asked if she considered herself retired, the formidable Lambert responded: ‘Heavens no. Inconceivable’.

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