Drew Adams (MArch 2011), at the age of 35, has already had a distinguished career in the nine years since he graduated from the Daniels Faculty. Now he has something else: the 2020 Emerging Architect Award, from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
The award, formerly known as the "Young Architect Award," is given each year to a young architect who has demonstrated excellence in design, leadership, or service to the profession. Adams sees the win as a heartening vote of confidence in his career path, which has focused mostly on design for nonprofit clients. "What stands out to me is that it affirms a type of community-focused work that is too often under-recognized," Adams says. "More than ever, I'm optimistic about community-impact work and what we can still achieve together through collective action."
Adams is currently an associate at LGA Architectural Partners, where he has worked for the past seven years. He was the project architect for LGA's Evergreen Brick Works' Future Cities Centre, a former kiln building that now serves as a multifunctional event space. The project is known as one of Toronto's best and most prominent examples of adaptive reuse.
The Evergreen Brick Works' Future Cities Centre. Photograph by James Morely/A-Frame.
Adams also had a leading role in creating LGA's design for Eva's Phoenix, a transitional housing centre for homeless youth, located in downtown Toronto. The building's 10 townhouse-style units provide a supportive environment for young people who need a safe, temporary place to live, learn, and recover from trauma.
The RAIC jury noted Adams's frequent conference appearances and university guest lectures, as well the quality of his design work.
The jury writes: "Drew’s work displayed an impressive commitment to the benefits of material research, technical explorations of building systems, energy modelling, and daylight studies all in the service of designing and building a more inclusive living environment for those most in need in our communities."
Adams received the 2011 Irving Grossman Prize for his final thesis on innovative and sustainable housing design. Before entering the Daniels Faculty's Master of Architecture program, he graduated from the University of Waterloo, with a bachelor's degree in urban planning.