Montreal architect Phyllis Lambert to receive lifetime achievement award

Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, is this year's recipient of the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award. Handout/Canadian Centre for Architecture

TORONTO — Montreal’s Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, will be honoured with a prestigious award next month in Venice.

Lambert, 87, will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale for Architecture on June 7.

“Phyllis Lambert has made a huge contribution to architecture,” said Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, curator of this year’s biennale, in a release.

“Without her participation, one of the few realizations in the 20th century of perfection on earth — the Seagram Building in New York — would not have happened.”

A taxi passes in front of the Seagram Building February 5, 2003 in New York City. Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

Lambert designed the Saidye Bronfman Centre in the 1960s (named for her mother) and brought famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to the Seagram Building project in New York and the iconic Toronto Dominion Centre in Toronto.

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Lambert founded Heritage Montreal in 1975 and lead the fight against an early design for Place Montreal Trust that would have obscured the view of Mount Royal.

Last December, she stepped down as chair of the board of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which she founded in 1979.

“Her creation of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal combines rare vision with rare generosity to preserve crucial episodes of architecture’s heritage and to study them under ideal conditions,” said Koolhaas.

“Architects make architecture; Phyllis Lambert made architects.”

The Venice Biennale brings together world-class architects and designers. Previous recipients of the Golden Lion award include Portugal’s Alvaro Siza, American James S. Ackerman and Britain’s Richard Rogers.

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