Phyllis Lambert - CC, GOQ, CAL, FIRAC, FRSC, FRIBA (Hon.), FAIA (Hon.), LL D
Photo: Michel Boulet
© CCA, Montréal
Phyllis Lambert, architect, is Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montréal, an international research centre and museum founded in 1979 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive collections, the CCA is a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding, and widening thought and debate on the art of architecture, its history, theory, practice, and role in society today.
Phyllis Lambert first made architectural history as the Director of Planning of the Seagram Building (1954-58) in New York City. She is recognized internationally both for her contribution in advancing contemporary architecture and for her concern for the social issues of urban conservation and the role of architecture in the public realm.
With a parallel commitment to intervention in the urban fabric, Lambert founded Héritage Montréal in 1975, and four years later was instrumental in establishing the Société d'Amélioration de Milton-Parc, the largest non-profit cooperative housing renovation project in Canada. As member of the McGill College Committee with the Montréal Chamber of Commerce in 1984, Lambert initiated the process of public consultation as a way of involving the public in decisions concerning development of the city. Subsequently, she was named member of the Public Consultation Committee of the Vieux-Port de Montréal, the body responsible for the historic area’s transformation from industrial to societal use. From 1984 to 2007, Lambert was a member of the Board of the Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal. In 1996, Lambert formed the Fonds d’Investissement de Montréal (FIM), the only private investment fund in Canada participating in the revitalization of housing in low- and medium-income neighbourhoods. Lambert is currently a participant in the renewal of Montréal’s downtown west quarter, through the Table de concertation du centre-ville Ouest, the roundtable she initiated in 2005.
Lambert has pioneered publications on photography and architecture, landscape, gardens, and the history of Montréal, as well as leading architects. Her writings include a number of major essays and contributions to books such as: Court House: A Photographic Document; Photography and Architecture; Architecture and Its Image; Canadian Centre for Architecture: Buildings and Gardens; Opening the Gates of Eighteenth-Century Montréal; Fortifications and the Synagogue: The Fortress of Babylon and the Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo; Viewing Olmsted: Photographs by Robert Burley, Lee Friedlander, and Geoffrey James; En Chantier, the Collections of the CCA, 1989 - 1999; and Mies in America.
With major contributions to scholarship and architecture, as well as a tireless commitment to civic activism, Phyllis Lambert has been recognized with numerous awards and distinctions. She holds honorary degrees from over two dozen universities in North America and Europe. Having received the Massey Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montréal, Lambert subsequently was elected Fellow of the Institute, and in 1991 received its highest award, the RAIC Gold Medal. Numerous prestigious awards followed: the Prix Gérard-Morisset of the Government of Québec for museology and conservation; the World Monuments Fund’s Hadrian Award, for the preservation of international cultural heritage; and the Vincent J. Scully Prize from the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., for outstanding contributions to the design of the built environment, advancement of public awareness of design, and dedication to architectural preservation. This past year she received the Prix d’Excellence de l’Opération Patrimoine Architectural of the City of Montréal and Héritage Montréal, in recognition of her efforts to preserve the city’s heritage; the Preservation League of New York State’s Pillar of New York Award, for contributions to historic preservation; and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, conferred by the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.. Lambert is recipient of the 2008 Iris Foundation Award, from the Bard Graduate Center, New York, for outstanding contributions to the decorative arts and the 2008 Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Urban Institute, for exemplary leadership and achievements in the betterment of the public realm.
Phyllis Lambert has received the highest civil honours in Canada as Companion of the Order of Canada and Grand Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec. France has appointed her Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and l’Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie has named her Chevalier of the Ordre de la Pléiade. Lambert is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.