Cliff House, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.

AIA St. Louis Scholarship Fund Lecture: Brian MacKay-Lyons

September 25, 2017
6p Reception, 6:30p Lecture
Steinberg Auditorium

Brian MacKay-Lyons, partner at MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited and professor of architecture at Dalhousie University, will deliver the annual AIA St. Louis Scholarship Fund Lecture, titled Economy as Ethic.

Born and raised in the village of Arcadia in southwestern Nova Scotia, MacKay-Lyons earned his Bachelor of Architecture in 1978 from the Technical University of Nova Scotia, where he was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal. He earned his Master of Architecture and Urban Design from UCLA, and was awarded the Dean's Award for Design.

After studying in China, Japan, California, and Italy, MacKay-Lyons returned to Nova Scotia in 1983 to challenge the historic maritime "brain drain" trend, and to make a cultural contribution to Nova Scotia, where his Acadian and Mi'kmaq ancestors lived. In 1985, he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax. Twenty years later, he partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited.

The firm has built an international reputation for design excellence confirmed by more than 125 awards, including the Royal Institute of British Architects International Fellowship in 2016, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal in 2015 and Firm Award in 2014, six Governor General Medals, two American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards for Architecture, thirteen Lieutenant Governor's Medals of Excellence, eight Canadian Architect Awards, four Architectural Record Houses Awards, and eight North American Wood Design Awards. In 2017 the firm received the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Moriyama Award (result pending).

A fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC) and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), MacKay-Lyons was named Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon. FAIA) in 2001 and International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Int. FRIBA) in 2016. For decades, he has made a significant contribution to both architectural education and practice. He is a professor of architecture at Dalhousie University, where he has taught for over thirty years and has held seventeen endowed academic chairs, in addition to giving over 200 lectures internationally. In 2004 he was the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Ghost (1994-2011) was a series of international Architectural Research Laboratories that took place on the MacKay-Lyons farm. Ghost was founded by MacKay-Lyons as a meeting place for an international "school" of architects who shared a commitment to landscape, making, and community. The final installment of Ghost took the form of a three-day historic gathering where the twenty-five invited guests and speakers commiserated over these shared values and their "resistance" to the globalization of Architecture.

The work of the firm has been recognized in over 330 publications including six monographs: Seven Stories from a Village Architect (1996); Brian MacKay-Lyons: Selected Works 1986-1997 (1998); Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons by Malcolm Quantrill (2005); Ghost: Building an Architectural Vision (2008); Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft, and Community (2014); and Economy as Ethic: The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects (2017), authored by historian Robert McCarter. In addition to these monographs, the work of the firm has been featured in more than 100 exhibitions internationally.

Houses designed in Atlantic Canada have made his firm a leading proponent of regionalist architecture worldwide. This recognition has led to a transition in the practice toward increased public and international commissions.

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