Raymond Moriyama, a Japanese Canadian architect known for his open and inviting designs, passed away at the age of 93. Moriyama’s childhood experiences of racism and internment during World War II influenced his work, guiding him towards creating civic spaces that fostered inclusivity and accessibility.
One of Moriyama’s notable designs was the Scarborough Civic Centre in Toronto, completed in 1973. The five-story building featured open-plan offices and a stunning interior atrium adorned with vines, symbolizing the government’s accessibility to the people. Moriyama believed that architecture should invite citizens to participate in the democratic process, even jokingly suggesting that disgruntled citizens could easily throw bricks through the mayor’s office window if they were dissatisfied with the administration.
Moriyama was a prominent figure in shaping Canadian architecture during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He collaborated with architect Alex Rankin to design the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, a $100 million project that opened in 2005. The museum, nestled between a river and a meadow, featured a grass-covered roof and exhibited a range of war-related artifacts. In the Memorial Hall, Moriyama carefully positioned a window so that on Veterans Day, precisely at 11 a.m., a ray of sunlight illuminated the headstone of the Canadian Unknown Soldier, paying homage to the sacrifices of war.
Reflecting on his childhood experiences, Moriyama emphasized the importance of fighting for the rights of everyone, not just oneself. His commitment to inclusivity and democracy guided his remarkable career as an architect.
Raymond Moriyama was born in Vancouver in 1929 and studied architecture at the University of Toronto and McGill University. He leaves behind a legacy of influential designs that continue to shape the city of Toronto and beyond.
– Raymond Moriyama, architect who reshaped cities, dies at 93 – The New York Times
– Raymond Moriyama: The Japanese Canadian architect who designed Canada to celebrate diversity – CBC News