Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Awards of Excellence — 2019 Recipient

Kathryn Walter
Award Category: 
Awards of Excellence
Allied Arts Medal

Kathryn Walter
FELT Studio 
Toronto, ON

For almost 20 years, Toronto artist and designer Kathryn Walter has created feature wall installations in Canada and the United States through collaborations with architects and interior designers. Since founding FELT Studio in 2000, she has worked almost exclusively with industrial, manufactured felt for its aesthetic, insulating, fire-resistant and sound-absorbent qualities.

For example, in 2002, she developed prototypes for a donor wall with names cut from felt for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, designed by Gehry Partners.

She has consulted to major architectural firms on felt wall-coverings, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Alice Tully Hall - Lincoln Center, 2007); OMA (Milstein Hall at Cornell University, 2010), and Kohn Pedersen Fox (School of Law at City University of New York 2012).

Current work includes a wall for the lobby of Natural Resources Defence Council in Washington, D.C. (2019) with Studio Gang, of Chicago.

Walter has gone on to develop a range of textured wall-coverings, customizing them for projects by LGA Architectural Partners, of Toronto, LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design, of Montreal and Quebec City, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, of New Haven, Ten Arquitectos of Mexico City and New York, and superkül in Toronto, among others.

Her practice includes furnishings and teaching at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Jury Comment(s): 

“Drawing from her deep background in contemporary visual arts and craft, and her expertise in industrial textiles, Kathryn Walters offers a leading example of how collaborators from parallel disciplines can contribute to architecture.”

“Her work with cultural institutions, such as Toronto’s Textile Museum of Canada, has fostered specialized new craft technologies and new esthetic language.

“Notably, her work with the architecture firm, superkül, at Aesop’s Toronto headquarters, produced a beautiful integrated felt-based canopy and wall lining for the retail interior.”

Jury:

Shirley Blumberg, CM, FRAIC
Founding Partner, KPMB Architects
Member, Toronto Community Housing Design Review Panel
Toronto, ON

John Brown, FRAIC
RAIC Board of Directors First Vice President
Dean, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary
Principal, John Brown Architect, Founding partner, Housebrand
Calgary, AB

Philip Beesley, FRAIC
Architect, artist, Philip Beesley Architect
Professor, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo
Toronto, ON

Click for full version: 
Felt and polycarbonate screens designed with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, NY and fabricated by FELT and E.F. Walter Inc.

Felt and polycarbonate screens designed with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, NY and fabricated by FELT and E.F. Walter Inc.

Photo: Donna Pallotta
copyright: DS+R 

Screening room doors, West Village Apartment Project Architects: B-Space Architecture + Design, New York

Screening room doors, West Village Apartment Project Architects: B-Space Architecture + Design, New York

Photo: Bjorg Magnea

Feature wall (Face 2) lounge behind reception at Le Germain Hotel Calgary.  Project Architects: LemayMichaud, Montreal

Feature wall (Face 2) lounge behind reception at Le Germain Hotel Calgary.  Project Architects: LemayMichaud, Montreal

Photo: Le Groupe Germain

Fireplace Surround in Private Residence Project Architects: Dubbeldam Architecture + Design, Toronto

Fireplace Surround in Private Residence Project Architects: Dubbeldam Architecture + Design, Toronto

Photo: Bob Gundu

Feature wall and ceiling at Aesop flagship Project Architects: superkül, Toronto

Feature wall and ceiling at Aesop flagship Project Architects: superkül, Toronto

Photo: A-Frame Inc

Purchased for boardroom of Gow Hastings Architects offices, Toronto

Purchased for boardroom of Gow Hastings Architects offices, Toronto

Photo: Camille Esquivel

FELT and Bev Koski of Seventh Generation Image-Makers for Native Child Family Services. Project Architects: Levitt-Goodman Architects (LGA Partners) Toronto

FELT and Bev Koski of Seventh Generation Image-Makers for Native Child Family Services. Project Architects: Levitt-Goodman Architects (LGA Partners) Toronto

Photo: A-Frame Inc

Guest suite includes feature wall, lights and furnishings at Gladstone Hotel, Toronto. Commissioned by Gladstone Hotel, Toronto

Guest suite includes feature wall, lights and furnishings at Gladstone Hotel, Toronto. Commissioned by Gladstone Hotel, Toronto

Photo: Tom Arban