Architect Richard Stevens Honoured as RAIC Fellow
We’re pleased to share that long-time practice lead and architect, Richard Stevens, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC – IRAC). This honour recognizes Richard’s commitment to excellence in the design of public buildings and institutions, and his attention to the user experience they serve. About the recognition, Richard said “I had no inclination I was being nominated by my team, and was deeply touched when I received the letter from the RAIC.”
With over 40 years of experience, Richard began his career in 1976 with Arthur Erickson Architects where he eventually became Director of Projects. In 1989, Richard struck out on his own and started Stevens Group Architects (SGA) to concentrate on the commitment of city-building through public projects. His team joined IBI Group ten years ago to bolster the firm’s transit architecture department.
What kind of changes has he observed in the industry over the past few decades? “Young architects are better trained technically now, but aesthetically more prone to treat architecture as fashion,” said Richard. “The intellectual rigour necessary for design problem solving has been a key part of the job for me. Over the years, I have also seen architects ‘eat their own’ in terms of fees, and from low fees comes a danger of less service and more litigation. It’s a disturbing trend.”
One of Richard’s first transit projects was TTC’s Downsview Subway Station which opened to the public in 1996 and was well received by the client and the public. This marked a watershed moment in transit architecture design and set many new precedents, including integrating artwork into station design, a column-free platform, elevated wayfinding, and the prioritization of accessibility.
Richard’s projects exemplify a passenger-first approach, and this vision continues to inform Toronto’s transit network. Richard and his team are responsible for many notable projects including: Sheppard West Station (formerly Downsview) on the Spadina Line; Don Mills and Bayview Stations along the Sheppard Line; Finch West and Pioneer Village Stations on the recent Spadina Line Extension; and the transformational Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit on the new Line 5, which includes the design of 25 new stations/stops due for completion in 2021.
What advice can he give to young professionals getting into the industry? “If you are bitten by the love of architecture there is no advice except to hold fast to that love and stay with it because it rewards you, day-in and day-out. It’s so magnificent!”