Prix du XXe siecle
Congratulations to the 2019 Prix du XXe siècle recipient:
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Photo Credit: Leif Norman
The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (RMTC), opened in 1970, was designed by Number TEN Architectural Group (originally called Waisman Ross Blankstein Coop Gillmor Hanna) of Winnipeg.
Manitoba Theatre Centre was the first regional theatre in Canada and was founded in 1958 by John Hirsch and Tom Hendry. Hirsch went on to a distinguished career at Stratford Festival and other venues, while the Manitoba company thrived and inspired the development of regional theatre across Canada. The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre is recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada, both for the company’s influence on the development of Canadian theatre and as an expression of small-scale Brutalist architecture in Canada.
The principal architect for the 785-seat theatre was Allan H. Waisman FRAIC and the design architect was Robert Kirby, who worked closely with the artistic director of the theatre company, Eddie Gilbert. RMTC is one of only three National Historic Sites in Canada designated for the excellence of its Brutalist architecture. The other two are Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre for the Arts and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
The members of the jury praised the RMTC’s design for creating “theatrical intimacy between audience and actor.” The foyer includes viewing windows to the backstage area, where theatregoers can see all the aspects that go into a production. “It promotes an awareness and appreciation of the relationships between those behind-the-scenes, those on stage and the audience, a casualness of contact. It explores the social, the political, the material and the place as conditions for creativity and innovation.”
Architectural historian Andrew Waldron says: “A thrust stage, calm semi-private spaces, and public viewing of behind-the-scenes are only a few elements of how the architects introduced a more intimate and informal experience within a Brutalist space. These qualities have remained intact. Indeed, in contrast to other Brutalist works, the RMTC has retained its integrity with few alterations since construction. Its architectural integrity is a testament to its functional and material success.”
The nomination also notes how the building contributes to the two streets it faces, and the uniqueness of its auditorium design, with an irregularly shaped balcony extending over the orchestra and a flexible stage that can project and recess through the frame of the proscenium. Other notable features are continuous skylight on two sides of the auditorium and the high quality craftsmanship of the exposed concrete.
Terms of Reference
1. Purpose of the Award
The National Trust for Canada and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) wish to promote public awareness of significant Canadian architecture of the recent past.
The Prix du XXe Siècle recognizes buildings over 25 years old that have become landmarks of Canadian architecture. The prize celebrates design quality as well as enduring excellence, recognizing the design of the original architect and/or firm as well as the on-going stewardship of the owner of the building.
Submissions will be judged on the following:
- the building has national significance;
- the building remains an enduring work of architecture;
- the qualities of the building may reflect: conceptual originality; technical advancement; innovation of its time; and/or symbolic significance;
- the features of the work have not been substantially altered since its construction;
- the building has been preserved over time through sensitive stewardship of its original qualities.
- An existing building that was completed after 1968 and before 1994;
- A person may nominate one building per year;
- Previous unsuccessful submissions will be automatically considered for a maximum of two consecutive years. Nominators may submit additional information to strengthen the submission.
3. Submission Materials
Please note that binders, including hardcopies of project images, are no longer accepted. For each entry, a printed copy of the nomination form must be included in the submission package and each of the following documents must be saved in PDF or MSWord format on two CD-ROMs/DVD ROMs or USB key.
The following items must be provided and combined in this order into a single PDF document saved as the project name:
- A completed nomination form;
- A written statement, which explains why the building deserves this award. The statement shall be three pages or less;
- List of significant interventions to the building should be noted and explained in terms of the original design intent and realization;
- A site plan;
- A current day photo of the building, in jpeg format is required;
- Visual evidence such as photos of the present state of the building interiors to support an assessment of the stewardship aspect of the award;
- Maximum of 10 images per submission, five of which must have been taken in the last five years;
- Additional images that allow comparison between “then” and “now” are encouraged and permitted;
- A minimum of two high resolution images in jpeg format are required;
- Useful supporting materials such as articles and list of awards are encouraged; and
- Key list of images.
All submission materials must be included electronically in PDF format or MS Word on a CD/DVD-ROM or USB key. (view the technical guidelines for submitting electronic material).
All winning entries will be kept by the RAIC for publication, exhibition and archival purposes. Unsuccessful entries will not be returned.
4. Jury Selection Process
The National Committee of the College of Fellows in consultation with the National Trust for Canada shall appoint a Jury of three to five members each year which will be composed of distinguished scholars or educators, and other distinguished members of the profession.
- The RAIC Office will prepare an information package for the Jury members;
- The information will be sent in advance of the meeting;
- Jury members will be required to acknowledge and accept the terms of reference.
- The Jury shall discuss the various nominees via one or more teleconferences organized by the Chair with the assistance of the RAIC Office. By consensus, the Jury shall identify two buildings for award of the Prix du XXe siècle;
- Confidentiality (process & results): Jury members will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement;
- Conflict of interest: Jury members will be required to sign a conflict of interest declaration.
The Jury shall forward its decision to the RAIC Board of Directors. The President of the RAIC shall bestow the award.
5. Number of Awards
A maximum of two awards will be conferred. At its discretion, the jury may elect not to confer an award. The award shall be a wall plaque or desktop plaque, with the RAIC emblem and inscribed:
2019 PRIX DU XXE SIÈCLE
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
and the National Trust for Canada
(name of building)
for its enduring excellence and
to Canadian Architecture.
(insert name of architect(s))
The award is to be offered every year.
7. Public Presentation
The presentation will be at the RAIC Festival of Architecture or other suitable ceremony. The National Trust for Canada may send a representative to present the award jointly with RAIC.
8. Commemorative Plaque
Subject to the owner’s discretion, RAIC and the National Trust for Canada will provide a commemorative wall plaque or desktop plaque.
9. Joint Publicity
RAIC and the National Trust for Canada will collaborate on a promotion and communications strategy around the call for nominations, announcing the award winner(s) and reporting on the presentation.
The Prix du XXe siècle is presented jointly by the National Trust for Canada and The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.