Anya Moryoussef, a Toronto-based architect known for considering every aspect of a client's needs before beginning her practice, is the recipient of the 2021 Emerging Architect Award from the RAIC.
The Emerging Architect Award is to recognize an emerging architect for excellence in design, leadership and/or service to the profession. It is intended that this award will inspire other individuals to become licensed and to strive for excellence in their work.
As a child, Anya Moryoussef was especially sensitive to her surroundings; light and dark, joy and anger, emptiness and fullness, strength, and fragility. She lived in many homes; some happy, some bright, some full, some less of all these things. Anya knew a space could make you feel, could change your mood, your sense of security, well-being, productivity, prosperity, potential.
In 2011, Anya became Toronto firm Superkül’s first Associate. As the firm continued to grow, the projects grew larger in scale and grandeur. By all measures, the practice was attaining its goals, with bigger budgets and opportunities to match. As the sole associate, Anya found herself in the role of a design director – a manager. She no longer had intimate conversations with clients about their lives, got to ruminate over seemingly insignificant details in the design, or was up to her elbows in the drawings and have eyes on the site. The work, and Anya's connection to it, became less personal. She was growing with, and into, a larger practice, on track to become a partner, but not into the kind of architect Anya wanted to be.
In 2014, Anya left Superkül to practice her craft on her terms— which were: do ambitious work, support her soon-to-be growing family with her income, and make buildings. She did not regard these expectations as grand, but Anya soon learned how grand they were with the prospects that faced a sole practitioner starting from the ground up. The work she found was predominantly domestic. The scopes were limited. The disjunctions between budgets and aspirations seemingly irreconcilable. But the clients, and their existing homes, were full of promise: they were the assets. On the surface, they were everyday people with modest means who had sought out an architect to uplift their daily lives; looking more deeply, she saw the drama, potential, and beauty in their visions of themselves and their lives. Seeing the intimate and productive symbiosis between occupant and space, empathetically understanding these clients, became, as much as the traditional elements of the architecture itself, the work.
"Anya Moryoussef's work and intellectual approach are distinguished by the sensitivity and clarity of the goals she seems to have set for the profession of architecture.
Her involvement in the teaching of architecture is also to be commended. Anya is already giving back to her profession, sharing her knowledge and experience with the next generation.
Throughout her career, Anya has demonstrated an enduring commitment to design excellence. She has earned the respect and admiration of her peers through her joy for her work, design achievements, and her devotion to architectural education.
From simple pavilions to homes and public buildings, her work has shown itself to be highly attuned to her clients’ needs and budgets while time and again creating designs of a high calibre, precisely detailed, and beautifully executed. Anya is an immensely talented and determined architect and has demonstrated the success of clear and focused commitments to the pursuit of design excellence and a deep connection with her clients. Her designs exhibit incredible skill, restraint, and innate understanding of materials. Her involvement in teaching, mentoring, and advocacy furthers her role as an inspiration to young architects everywhere."
The Jury for the 2021 Emerging Architect Award:
- Susan Ruptash, FRAIC - BDP Quadrangle, Toronto, ON
- André Perrotte, FIRAC - Saucier+Perrotte Architectes, Montreal, QC
- Drew Adams, MRAIC - LGA Architectural Partners Ltd., Toronto, ON
- Marie-Odile Marceau, FIRAC - McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd, Vancouver, BC
- Susan Fitzgerald, FRAIC - Fowler Bauld & Mitchell Ltd., Halifax, NS