OTTAWA — This year’s Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) Advocate for Architecture Award is being presented to a municipal politician who the institute states has made a significant contribution to sustainable development and exemplary design in Montreal.
Alan DeSousa has been mayor of Saint-Laurent, a borough of the city of Montreal, since 2002 and a municipal politician since 1990. He is a member of the council of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, which represents 82 municipalities.
"His work reflects a creative and effective use of the role of government in support of architecture," stated the three-member jury in a release. "He is a strong and effective advocate for quality architecture and urban design in Quebec, supporting a vision of modernism as well as heritage conservation."
The Advocate for Architecture Award celebrates an individual who has made a public contribution to architecture in Canada by means other than the practice of architecture, states a RAIC release issued March 21. It recognizes long-term commitment to the profession at a national, regional or local level. The award will be presented at the RAIC/Ontario Association of Architects Festival of Architecture, which takes place in Ottawa May 24 to 27.
DeSousa played a leading role in the development and adoption of public policy documents that ultimately led to Montreal's 2006 official designation as a UNESCO City of Design. The documents include the Economic Development Strategy 2005-2010, which defined design as a driver of economic growth, while an action plan, Montreal: City of Design/Design of a City, proposed steps such as design competitions for major public buildings, adds the release.
From 2001 to 2012, DeSousa served on the executive committee of the City of Montreal where he held several posts including vice-chair and member responsible for economic development and sustainable development, among other files. In 2009, he tabled a policy that set a minimum standard of LEED Gold certification for new buildings on the Island of Montreal. He championed transit-oriented development, LEED Silver certification and strict design guidelines in the Bois-Franc urban redevelopment project of the 1990s in Saint-Laurent.
According to the release, under his leadership, the Borough of Saint-Laurent revised municipal regulations and set guidelines to preserve the heritage qualities of wartime houses in the Norvick neighbourhood; plans to create a clean technologies campus, the Eco-campus Hubert-Reeve; and has expressed support for a Quebec Architecture Policy.
"I am very proud to accept this award on behalf of all of my fellow citizens of Saint-Laurent," said DeSousa. "With their support, I have worked hard to make Saint-Laurent an innovative green community where quality of life is closely related to the architectural quality of the built environment."