2024 RAIC Research & Innovation in Architecture Award | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

2024 RAIC Research & Innovation in Architecture Award

Patkau Design Lab
Award Category: 
RAIC Research & Innovation in Architecture Award

Patkau Design Lab is the research and fabrication wing of Patkau Architects. More than simply a workshop, it engages in speculative experiments that test the potential of new ways of working with common materials. Through iterative development, attention to detail, and a refined aesthetic, this experimental work has evolved into fully realized furniture pieces, pavilions, and building elements.

The lab believes that understanding material, force, and form at a deep level is essential for architectural innovation. Its inaugural project, Winnipeg Skating Shelters, was inspired by the way a small plastic satchel, made of two flat sheets, expands when gently squeezed into an appealing volumetric form. The lab simulated this deformation with sheets of plywood, then expanded the exercise with multiple sheets to create larger volumes and more sophisticated compound curving surfaces.

While pursuing its research, Patkau Design Lab has made numerous efforts to open its methodologies and perspectives to the public, students, and practitioners. This outreach has included articles, lectures, presentations, workshops, and the book Material Operations (Princeton Architectural Press, 2017), which chronicle their thinking and processes. The intent is for this outreach to be generative, providing tools and inspiration for others to find their own innovations.

Jury Comment(s): 

Patkau Design Lab is a Canadian architectural practice that has developed a system of inquiry over years of research, affirming the value of curiosity, close observation of materials, and imagination. They articulate their principles and position relative to the profession, situating themselves within the discipline with rigour and a critical awareness of the development of current types and methods of innovation and their implications. Their work challenges Canadian architecture and modernism through material explorations and formal innovations. 

2024 Annual Awards Jury

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PHOTO - Patkau Architects

PA_Skating shelters

PHOTO - James Dow / Patkau Architects

PA_Daegu Gosan Library

PHOTO - James Dow / Patkau Architects

PA_Temple of Light

PHOTO - James Dow / Patkau Architects

PA_Arbour House Interior

PHOTO - James Dow / Patkau Architects

PA_Springfold Chair

PHOTO - Patkau Architects