Founding Director Emeritus
Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
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For Phyllis Lambert, architecture is a public concern. Architect, author, scholar, curator, conservationist, activist and critic of architecture and urbanism, she is Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), which she established in 1979 as an international research centre and museum. Through its projects—research, events, exhibitions, publications and exceptional collection—the CCA seeks to create a new discourse for the architecture of the twenty-first century.
In June 1954, prior to proposing Mies van der Rohe as architect for Seagram, Phyllis Lambert wrote to the president, her father: “Your building is not only for the people of your companies who work there, but for all who pass by, for the area it is in, for New York City and for the rest of the world.” Her book Building Seagram is a cultural history of architecture, art, urban regulations, and real estate, as well as of conservation and stewardship in New York City.
Phyllis Lambert graduated from Vassar in 1948 and after earning a Master of Architecture in1963 from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, she has worked consistently to advance the quality of contemporary architecture together with the social issues of urban conservation.
In 1975, she founded the urban preservation organization Héritage Montreal, and was instrumental in establishing the largest and most vital non-profit cooperative housing renovation project in North America, Milton-Parc. Phyllis Lambert has continued to pursue social housing through the Fonds d’Investissement de Montreal, the only such investment fund in Canada.
Phyllis Lambert sees equitably structured public involvement as essential in ensuring the physical and social standards of change in cities. It has been crucial in Public Consultation initiated in revitalizing Montreal’s Old Port and the work of community roundtables, in which she continues to be involved.
Professionally Phyllis Lambert has received numerous awards as Director of Planning Seagram Building, New York; Architect of the Saidye Bronfman Cultural Centre of the YM-YWHA, Montreal; Director of Conservation, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo, Egypt; Co-Architect and Developer of the renovation of the Biltmore Hotel; and Consulting architect of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.
In addition to the highest Civic orders of Quebec, Canada and France, Phyllis Lambert has been honored by Quebec’s Prix Gérard Morisette for her outstanding museology and conservation contribution, 27 Honorary degrees from Universities in Canada, United States and France. Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada and recipient of its Gold Medal, as well as an honorary Fellow of the AIA and the Royal Institute of British Architecture, Phyllis Lambert received the Golden Lion of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale in honor of her life’s work.