Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2016 Recipient

Wong Dai Sin Temple
Markham
ON
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc.

Lead design architect(s): 

Brigitte Shim, FRAIC
Howard Sutcliffe, FRAIC

The Wong Dai Sin Temple is a modern sacred space that houses a dynamic Taoist community committed to their inner spiritual development through the ancient physical practice of tai chi.

This new temple building demonstrates asymmetry and counterbalance while maintaining its equilibrium much like a measured tai chi pose. This space is tied to other Wong Dai Sin temples in the world through its manipulation and amplification of natural light, instrumental use of colour and carefully composed and tactile material palette. The daily worship of one of the world's ancient religions is embedded in the fabric of this building.

Jury Comment(s): 

"The jury appreciates this project for its conceptual clarity. It is a pleasure to see such a unique building that celebrates structural form and materials. The relationship between the form and function of the Temple demonstrates a strong and considered composition.  For example, the Temple gives the appearance of being both heavy and light; the major volume hovers above the ground, providing a protected space below for collective activities.  Similarly, the striking façade modulates natural light while controlling views of the surroundings. This is a beautifully crafted and designed building that the jury feels raises the bar for architects working in the domain of new spiritual buildings."

Click for full version: 

Photo: James Dow

Photographer: James Dow

Photo: Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

Photographer: James Dow

Photo: James Dow