Phyllis Lambert

 Phyllis Lambert, architect (b at Montréal 24 Jan 1927). Educated at Vassar Coll (BA, 1948), Lambert embarked on her architectural career when she advised her father, distilling industrialist Samuel BRONFMAN, to choose Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, to design the Seagram Building in New York. After serving as director of planning (1954 to 1958) for this project, Lambert enrolled in the program Mies had established at the Illinois Institute of Technology. There she studied under Myron Goldsmith, receiving her MS Arch in 1963.

During the 1960s she designed the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montréal, an International Style glass and steel pavilion in the manner of Mies, and served as consultant to the Toronto-Dominion Centre in Toronto, the last great project in which Mies participated before his death. In the mid-1970s Lambert was architect-developer (with Gene Summers) for the Biltmore Hotel renovation in downtown Los Angeles, handsomely restoring this derelict landmark to vital use. For this she won the National Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects.

Lambert's major work has been as the founder and director of the CANADIAN CENTRE FOR ARCHITECTURE, a world-class museum and study centre in Montréal, which houses her extensive collections of architectural drawings, books, photographs, and archival materials. This project, completed in 1989 and designed by Peter ROSE, with Lambert as consulting architect, preserved and incorporated Shaugnessy House, a historic Montréal mansion rescued by Lambert. Together with its gardens, the major one designed by Melvin CHARNEY, the CCA has helped to revive a decaying urban area.

During her career, Lambert has initiated a number of architecture/preservation-related projects and publications including Court House: A Photographic Document; Photography and Architecture: 1839-1939; Opening the Gates of Eighteenth-Century Montréal; and Fortifications and the Synagogue: The Fortress of Babylon and the Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo. In 1998 she announced the IFCCA (International Federation for the CCA) Prize, a $100 000 international prize to encourage new contributions to the design of cities.

A recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal and of many awards and honorary degrees, Lambert is an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, France, and a Companion of the Order of Canada. On 1 March 1999 Lambert retired as director of the CCA, but continues as chair of the board of trustees and as an active member of the acquisitions committee.