Order of Canada

Order of Canada honourees grace buildings sector

Friday, June 28, 2019

Architectural practitioners in Toronto and Vancouver have been named to the Order of Canada. Governor General Julie Payette bestowed the honour to Donald Schmitt, Principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects, and Raymond Cole, Professor Emeritus and former director of University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture among 83 appointments announced yesterday.

The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication and service to the community and the nation, and is awarded to recipients who exemplify its motto, Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam — translating to: They desire a better country. Accompanying citations for the new appointees commend Schmitt “for his rehabilitation of iconic heritage buildings and for his sustainable architectural designs” and Cole “for his skilful pairing of architecture and environmental sustainability, and for his leadership in the field”.

Schmitt was born in the Northern Ontario community of South Porcupine and is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Architecture. Some of his most recent projects include: the high-rise laboratories of the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto; the new campus of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver; and Lazaridis Hall at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

He has led the restoration of iconic Canadian landmarks such as the National Arts Centre and the Senate of Canada Building. He is also lead designer for the Library and Archives of Canada-Ottawa Public Library joint facility, now under construction.

“I am honoured and humbled to be among Canadians from all walks of life as a Member of the Order of Canada,” Schmitt observes in a release issued by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Cole was trained as a civil engineer and then attained a PhD in architectural science from University of Wales, Cardiff, before embarking on a long career in architectural research and teaching. He is an honorary member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

He is the co-founder of the Green Building Challenge, launched in 1998 to promote advancement and benchmarking of sustainable,high-performance buildings, which has now evolved into the World Sustainable Building Conference series. He is a past director of UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Buildings Canada and a Lifetime Leadership Award from the Canada Green Building Council.

“Ray has contributed a long and deep legacy of passionate teaching and intellectual leadership, and a substantial community of former students, architects and scholars in his 40-year academic career,” notes a congratulatory statement from the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at University of British Columbia. “His time at SALA has inspired countless students to study sustainable building design — a field he was instrumental in developing in Canada and sharing with the world. We are proud that Ray’s contributions to his students, our school and the sustainability community have been recognized with Canada’s highest civilian honour.”

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