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This article was published 14/2/2018 (911 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Longtime Brandon architect Michael J. Cox has been named the 79th president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
The one-year term officially beganJan. 1, however Cox has been serving as president since September 2017 when former president Ewa Bieniecka resigned due to personal reasons.
"It’s a tremendous honour," Cox said. "The institute is 110 years old last year, has a long history of representing the profession, advocating for architecture — to try and convince the world that the world would be a better place if more of our built environment was designed by architects."
RAIC is based in Ottawa, and represents approximately 5,000 members across the country. Cox said one of his priorities will be to encourage membership growth among licensed architects as well as graduate architects, academics and emerging practitioners.
"Greater numbers are essential for the RAIC to strengthen its advocacy on behalf of the profession and the built environment," he stated in a RAIC press release. "I will be speaking with groups and individuals tocome to a betterunderstanding of ways in whichthe RAICcan be of increased assistanceas part of a continuous effort to be valuable, relevant and forward-thinking.
"I will work to position the RAIC for growth, and to foster positive working relationships with provincial and territorial regulatorsas well astheCanadianacademic institutions thatteach architecture."
Diarmuid Nash, chancellor of the College of Fellows and a member of the RAIC board, said Cox is a "perfect fit" as president.
"He’s passionate, he’s very seasoned, he knows the industry, he knows the culture," said Nash, a former Manitoban who works at Moriyama & Teshima Architects in Toronto. "He knows a lot of the players across the country and a lot of that’s been through his past experience as president of the Manitoba Association of Architects."
Cox has been the principal of Michael J. Cox, Architect,a one-person practicein Brandon,since 1979. He has served on many local boards, including as chair of the Assiniboine Community College board of governors, president of the BrandonKinsmen Club,
vice-chair of the Brandon Downtown Development Corporation and president and board chair of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Heserved a termon the board of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and continues to chair the Manitoba Association of Architects’ public affairs committee.
Looking back at the past four decades in Brandon, Cox said one of his career highlights is the renovation of the original electrical generating station, which resulted in an award-winning Western Regional Head Office facility for Manitoba Hydro on 10th Street.
He spoke of several smaller rural projects, such as the Boissevain community theatre and library, and the Inglis hockey arena, which all made a difference in their respective communities.
"Working with materials that are available in the community, materials that local suppliers might be willing to offer on a gift-in-kind basis, to move the project along," he said. "Those are far important to me quite frankly than the grand statements because they make a real impact on the community."
Recent work includes the design of the Royal Canadian Air Force WWII Memorial at the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, which Cox did pro bono. He notes that the curve in the memorial is the same curve that is at the top of the wing of a Tiger Moth plane.
"As that curve gave lift to that aircraft, so the curve of that wing, in my mind, gives lift to our spirits in the memory of those whose names are on that wall," he said. "So for me, it’s a powerful image."
As part of his year as president, Cox will be representing RAIC at gatherings with international colleagues, including the conference of the American Institutes of Architects to be held in New York City in June.
» Twitter: @jillianaustin
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