Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe of the Toronto-based firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects have been selected for this year’s Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum (ACSF). The purpose of the award is to recognize, celebrate, and raise public awareness of exceptional work that significantly advances the mission of the ACSF in architecture, landscape architecture, art, design, urbanism, planning, and related fields. Shim and Sutcliffe were chosen for their “demonstrated sensitivity to the spiritual in their built and unbuilt work,” according to the ACSF Board of Directors.
Shim and Sutcliffe are partners as well as collaborators. In their practice they share a deep concern for the cultural and spiritual significance of architecture, landscape, and interior and industrial design. Their work demonstrates a commitment to themes of the sacred and spiritual in architecture and landscape.
Shim apprenticed for Arthur Erickson in Vancouver and upon graduation she worked for Baird/ Sampson Architects in Toronto. She began teaching in 1988 at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture & Design, where she is currently a professor. She has served on numerous international, national, and local design juries, and is on the Aga Khan Architecture Award steering committee. Following graduation, Howard Sutcliffe immersed himself in the making of architecture. He contributed to the studios of Ronald Thom, Barton Myers, and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, working on international and national competitions and built projects, including the Kitchener City Hall. Shim and Sutcliffe formed their practice in 1994.
Among their celebrated works in the realm of the sacred are Congregation Bet Ha’am Synagogue (2009), designed to aid in the transition from the everyday to the sacred; the Atherley Narrows Bridge project, which addresses concepts of Native American spirituality and preservation of the 5,000-year-old Mnjikaning fish weirs; the Fung Loy Kok Place of Worship (Daoist) in Toronto (2015); and the chapel and residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto (2013). Shim and Sutcliffe’s work has won local, national, and international recognition and awards, and has been exhibited internationally and been published throughout the world.
Shim and Sutcliffe delivered their award lecture online in October, 2020. You can watch it here.