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Canada launches £55k prize to rival Pritzker

Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama has opened a new £55,000 prize open to architects of ‘exceptional buildings’ anywhere in the world

The 84 year-old founder of Toronto-based Moriyama and Teshima Architects said he launched the award to promote ‘the stature of Canada, and inspire Canadians and Canadian architects to aspire higher.’

Set up with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the high-profile gong will mimic the prestigious Pritzker Prize by being open to architects practising around the globe.  

Known as the Moriyama RAIC International Prize, the award will be given once every two years and will celebrate architecture which expresses humanistic values such as social justice, equality, and inclusivity.

Unlike the Pritzker which recognises exceptional architects’ careers, the new accolade will focus on buildings’ design excellence, client satisfaction and quality of detail.

Moriyama said: ‘It is not a lifetime achievement award. Anybody, young or old could apply and have a chance of winning.’ Non-architects may also be awarded for an exceptional contribution to architecture and the winner will be selected through an open juried competition.

The architect of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo was inspired to create the prize during a three-month walk following the footsteps of Buddha through India and Nepal.

Winners will receive CAD $100,000 (£55,000) and a sculpture designed by Canadian designer Wei Yew.

RAIC chair Barry Johns said: ‘Raymond Moriyama has conducted his practice with a rare degree of humanity and humility. The prize is a testament to his vision and generosity.’

Dominic J Eaton of UK-based Stride Treglown said: ‘UK architects certainly have a good chance of winning, as demonstrated with successful Pritzker Prize winners including Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers.’

But he added: ‘Generally however prizes of any nature should be viewed with caution. There is a certain amount of scepticism associated with the launch of a “new” prize.

‘The Pritzker Prize was launched in 1979 and is now well established, highly valued and often compared to the Nobel Prize. We will see if this new architectural prize will establish itself as a serious contender, although for it to do so, it will take years.’

The deadline for entries is 1 August and the inaugural award ceremony will take place in Toronto on 11 October.








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