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Shirley Blumberg

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Nationality  Canadian
Awards  Order of Canada
Name  Shirley Blumberg
Practice  KPMB Architects
Occupation  Architect

Shirley Blumberg wpmediaottawacitizencom201412handoutphotoof
Born  February 4, 1952 (age 63) (1952-02-04) Cape Town, South Africa
Alma mater  University of Toronto (1976)

Shirley Blumberg (born February 4, 1952) is a Canadian architect. She is a founding partner of KPMB Architects in Toronto, a Canadian practice. KPMB Architects is recognized for its commitment to city building and architectural excellence. In 2013, Blumberg was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada "for her contributions to architecture and for her commitment to creating spaces that foster a sense of community." Notable projects include the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Campus, 2011 which is the recipient of the Royal Institute of British Architects International Award (2012), the Architectural Record “Good Design is Good Business Award” (2013) and the Governor General’s Medal for Excellence (2014).



Blumberg was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1972. She immigrated to Canada in opposition to Apartheid in her home country in 1974, after spending a year in London, England. She completed her education in Canada graduating with Honours from the University of Toronto School of Architecture in 1976.

In 1977, she joined Barton Myers Associates, Inc. in Toronto and worked 10 years as an associate until Myers decided to move his office to Los Angeles. This catalyzed Blumberg to join forces with three other associates of Barton Myers – Bruce Kuwabara, Thomas Payne and Marianne McKenna – to form Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), in 1987.

Blumberg has focused on projects of architecture that benefit society and has directed a range of projects that speak to issues of pluralism, housing, and community building. This work includes the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Don Mills, Ontario and the Toronto Community Housing, Block 32 and adjacent Fort York Branch Library. Current projects include the Global Centre for Pluralism for the Aga Khan in Ottawa and the Lawrence Heights Redevelopment in Toronto. She is also the partner-in-charge of the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan (Mendel Art Gallery), the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and 20 Washington Road for Princeton University. Blumberg is also part of the campus framework planning effort for Princeton University with Urban Strategies and Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates.

Blumberg is a member of the Toronto Community Housing Design Review Panel, and has served on the City of Toronto Design Review Panel. In 2014 Blumberg served on the design review panel for the memorial to the Victims of Communism. Proposed to be located on one of the last pieces of open land in the parliamentary district of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Blumberg voted against the design and catalyzed a protest against the initiative and the location.

Shirley led the gelling of the Design Exchange, an architectural clash including the 1990s Ernst & Young Tower, 1930s Moderne machismo and a 1960s Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto-Dominion Centre next door. She was partner-in-charge of this $8 million project at Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, the architecture firm that won the job in January 1988, after beating 40 other design firms in an interview process. Her attention to detail and thought process for every part of the Design Exchange allowed her to unify these clashing architectural styles into one distinguished building. Beyond using a variety of materials, Shirley used them in virtuosic ways, saying, “we wanted to demonstrate their limits, to see how far we could push them.” During this project she says, "design isn’t just people sitting around and sketching on a drawing board. It’s a huge industry with many collaborators, from designers to fabricators to suppliers.”

Some of Blumberg's public service included being a part of the seven-member jury that evaluated finalists for new Ottawa memorial to victims of communism. Her main criticism to the project was why a memorial to victoms of communism was so prominent and so “centrally placed that it would seem to quite overshadow Canada’s true history,” as well as the memorial not being able to be built for the estimated price of $5.5 million.

Selected Projects

  • 1994: The Design Exchange, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1996: Alliance Communications Corporation Head Office
  • 1997: Alias|wavefront Studios
  • 1997: Disney Television Animation Studios
  • 1997: Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York City, New York
  • 2000: Penthouse on the Waterfront
  • 2000: Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence
  • 2003: James Stewart Centre for Mathematics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
  • 2004: Centennial College Applied Research and Innovation Centre, Scarborough, Ontario
  • 2004: University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Faculty of Management
  • 2005: Canada's National Ballet School (in joint venture with Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. Architects), Toronto, Ontario
  • 2006: Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2008: SugarCube, Denver, Colorado
  • 2008: Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2009: Block 24 E, Railway Lands West (NEO & Montage)
  • 2009: One Bedford Residential Development
  • 2009: University Boulevard Project, UBC
  • 2010: TIFF Bell Lightbox and Festival Tower, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2011: Vaughan City Hall, Vaughan, Ontario (LEED Gold)
  • 2011: Centre for International Governance Innovation, CIGI Campus, Waterloo, Ontario
  • 2011: Maple Leaf Square (Bremner Blvd)
  • 2012: Block 32, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Toronto, Ontario (in association with Page and Steele / IBI Group Architects)
  • 2012: Toronto Community Housing, 150 Dan Leckie Way
  • 2013: Audain Art Centre, UBC
  • 2013: Library District Condominiums, Toronto, Ontario (in association with Page and Steele / IBI Group Architects)
  • 2013: Ponderosa Commons Phase I, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia (in joint venture with Hughes Condon Marler Architects)
  • 2013: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2013: Sugino Studio
  • 2014: Fort York Branch Library, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2015: Ponderosa Commons Phase II, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia (in joint venture with Hughes Condon Marler Architects)
  • 2015: Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, UBC
  • 2016: Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan
  • 2016: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park
  • 2016: 20 Washington Road, Princeton University
  • 2018: Lawrence Heights
  • 2018: Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics, UPenn
  • 2018: 11 Wellesley
  • Publications

  • George Baird, Thomas Fisher, Mark Kingwell and Mirko Zardini. Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser, 2013.
  • Lambert, Phyllis, Detlef Mertins, Bruce Mau and Rodolphe el-Khoury. The Architecture of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. Basel, Berlin, Boston: Birkhäuser - Publishers for Architecture, 2004.
  • Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg. A monograph in the Contemporary World Architects series. USA: Rockport Publishers Inc., 1998. [foreword by George Baird; introduction by Detlef Mertins]
  • Spring 2006: FUSION: A Magazine for Clay & Class
  • September 2006: Global Interior Design Collection a2
  • October/November 2006: Building Magazine
  • September 2007: Emerging: Toronto’s Contemporary Architectural Renaissance
  • September 13, 2010: Maclean’s Magazine
  • September 12, 2013: The Globe and Mail
  • October 2012: Architectural Record
  • October 2010: “The AGS Architects meet the Media!”
  • October 2006: Azure Magazine
  • October 2004: The Architectural Review
  • November/December 2005: Canadian Interiors
  • November/December 2005: Abstract Magazine (Belgium)
  • November 1, 2013: Canadian Architect
  • November 1, 2013: Azure Magazine
  • May 9, 2014: National Post
  • May 2007: Architectural Record: AIA Honour Awards
  • March/April 2004: Azure Magazine
  • March 2013: The Plan Magazine
  • March 1, 2014: Building Magazine
  • July/August 2004: Frame (Amsterdam)
  • July 1, 2014: Canadian Architect
  • January 2012: “The Invention of Waterloo”
  • January 11, 2016: Redesign team for front campus revitalization chosen
  • February 2011: Canadian Architect
  • December 2007: Yapi
  • December 2005: Toronto Life
  • August 2009: Award Magazine
  • April 3, 2014: The Globe and Mail
  • April 25, 2014: The Globe and Mail
  • April 2008: The Plan: Architecture & Technologies in Detail
  • April 2006: Surface (New York)
  • April 13, 2009: “KPMB Make the Old Work With the New in Denver”
  • 2007: Design City Toronto
  • References

    Shirley Blumberg Wikipedia