KPMB, an 80+ person practice based in Toronto, is known for its consistency of architectural excellence through a diversity of project experience.
Founded in 1987 by Bruce Kuwabara, Thomas Payne, Marianne McKenna, and Shirley Blumberg, KPMB won two major competitions for large-scale institutions in the first few years of practice, Kitchener City Hall and the Queen’s University Library. This work, along with a number of smaller-scaled interiors and interventions to existing structures, rapidly established the firm’s reputation for high design and production standards.
Since it was founded KPMB has won over 100 awards, including national and international design competitions and ten Governor General’s Awards, Canada’s highest architectural honour. KPMB has played a major role in Toronto’s Cultural Renaissance, a phenomenon that was catalysed in the slipstream of the Bilbao Effect. Of the nine projects, KPMB is responsible for six, including the new home for the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada’s National Ballet School, the Gardiner Museum and the Young Centre. Several of these are recipients of international awards, including the American Institute of Architects, Royal Institute of British Architects, and Business Week/Architectural Record.
The integration of architecture and sustainability, performance and aesthetics and making buildings that support the public realm is at the heart of KPMB’s work. The individual act of making a building must be both transformative and enduring, and take part in a collective effort to support all levels of life, work, and creativity. Architecture must be positioned responsively between landscape and urbanism, issues of cost and environmental performance, and innovation and design excellence. This approach to architecture has earned the practice the Royal Architectural Institute of Architects Firm of the Year Award and the Toronto Arts Award.
Essentially the basic principles of sustainability – enduring value, fresh air ventilation, access to natural light and views – have informed KPMB’s work since it was founded. The demand for energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction has expanded the firm’s signature commitment to collaboration into rigorous integrated design processes that involve the input and expertise of clients, builders, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers and environmental specialists. The Manitoba Hydro head office in downtown Winnipeg – inclusive of 60% energy reduction and LEED Gold – demonstrates the firm’s experience with the C200 Integrated Design Process, and will be a benchmark for an even greater fusion of design excellence and building performance in future projects.