Emerging Architectural Practice Award - 2020 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Emerging Architectural Practice Award - 2020 Recipient

Award Category: 
Emerging Architectural Practice Award

Founded in 2012, PARTISANS is a Toronto-based studio that integrates design and technology, invention and programming, and culture and creative services. Led by Alex Josephson, Pooya Baktash, and Jonathan Friedman, the practice includes a diverse team of architects, researchers, storytellers, entrepreneurs, builders, and cultural enthusiasts devoted to a single cause: creating smart, high-performance design that strives to make the improbable possible.
The name PARTISANS comes from the importance the studio places on taking clear positions on architectural issues. They regard architecture to be a collective, political act. The three partners share an ethos that architecture is not just the act of designing, bur rather also a way of seeing, thinking, and making that expands—and even revolutionizes—our experience of the world.

PARTISANS works across scales, programs and types—from the design of objects and furniture, to transit stations and urban visions. The strategic decision to forgo programmatic or typological specialization comes from the importance that they place on both innovation and partnerships.

In their design process, PARTISANS combines new-world technologies with old-world craftsmanship. They use advanced digital modelling and rapid prototyping technologies, as well as hand-drawing, photography, and sculpture to create context-specific solutions. These practices help hone aspirations, while ensuring high fidelity to a strong concept all the way through to construction.

With every project, the team at PARTISANS designs to optimize performance and experience with an eye toward subverting expectations and creating meaningful built experiences.

Jury Comment(s): 

"The firm’s projects are original, powerful, and evocative. Capable of thinking at all scales from interiors to city planning, the works speak to a vision for the future that is free-minded and innovative. Outspoken advocates for the quality of architecture as a social vehicle is evidenced by the beloved spaces they have crafted."

Jury members

International Newswire Partner

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Bar Raval interior

PHOTO: Jonathan Friedman / PARTISANS

Sauna exterior

PHOTO: Jonathan Friedman / PARTISANS


PHOTO: Tim Melnichuk / PARTISANS

PHOTO: Jonathan Friedman / PARTISANS

PHOTO: Decimal

Perspective view. The tower features a ‘morphed’ geometry that gradually and smoothly transitions different sized floor plates into a cohesive form.


Food court interior with ceiling PODs product designed by PARTISANS. PARTISANS also designed the tables and trash cans for the food court.

PHOTO: Jonathan Friedman / PARTISANS

PHOTO: Nic Lehoux