Late critic John Bentley Mays honoured for explaining art of architecture


The late John Bentley Mays has capped his career with one last award: an honour for explaining the art of architecture to the public.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) announced on May 2, 2107 that Mays, who died in September, has been awarded the President’s Medal for Media in Architecture. This award, given every other year, “recognises storytelling about buildings and cities that promotes understanding of architecture and the role of architects in the daily lives of Canadians,” the institute said in a release.

The award jury cited Mays “for his artful skill, creative and deeply influential body of work as a writer who expressed universal feelings about architecture with touching simplicity.”

Mays “played a pivotal role in promoting good architecture to the everyday user,” the jury wrote.

The Louisiana-born, Mays, a long-time Globe and Mail contributor, died by a sudden heart attack in September at 75. At the time, he was writing a weekly column on residential architecture in Toronto for this newspaper’s Real Estate section; before that he served as The Globe’s art critic from 1980 to 1998, and also wrote about Toronto in the column Citysites, which was collected in the book Emerald City (1994).

The virtues that Mays defended were artistic quality and an idea of architecture as an art form – one that should reflect contemporary culture.



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