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Stamp honours architecture

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by Patricia Williams

Canada Post is commemorating the centennial of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) by issuing a series of postage stamps featuring four noted Canadian architects.
Seen from left are stamp designer Ivan Novotny and architects Raymond Moriyama and Douglas Cardinal.
Seen from left are stamp designer Ivan Novotny and architects Raymond Moriyama and Douglas Cardinal.

TORONTO

Canada Post is commemorating the centennial of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) by issuing a series of postage stamps featuring four noted Canadian architects. The four masterworks chosen to grace these stamps are signature pieces by architects who have received the RAIC gold medal as well as the Order of Canada: Douglas Cardinal, St. Mary’s Church (1969); Arthur Erickson, University of Lethbridge (1971); Raymond Moriyama, Ontario Science Centre (1969); and Moshe Safdie, National Gallery of Canada (1988).

“When people enter a wonderful museum, soaring cathedral or awe-inspiring art gallery, I wonder how many of them ever stop to think about the architect who designed it,” said John Lee, general manager, enterprise solutions, at Canada Post.

“In Canada, we have a wealth of amazing buildings, some of which are so spectacular that they’re truly works of art.”

Stamp designer Ivan Novotny, realizing the importance of paying tribute to the artists behind the art, conceived a design that would show the four buildings and their creators; above all, he wanted the stamps to breathe, Canada Post said.

To that end, the sheet of eight stamps includes different selvages on each side, with sketches of the projects featured on the stamp on the left and portraits of the four architects on the right. This feature, combined with the colours that bleed from the stamp to the selvages, create a sense of interaction between the architects and their art.

“I’m a little overwhelmed,” Cardinal told Daily Commercial News. “The church was my first major project. I was 30 or 31 at the time.”

The stamps were unveiled during the opening luncheon of the RAIC’s annual Festival of Architecture, this year being held jointly with the Ontario Association of Architects conference.

“These stamps capture the spirit of our centennial celebration,” said RAIC executive director Jon Hobbs.

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