June 8, 2009
Librarian puts Cambridge, Ontario on the map
Cambridge librarian Greg Hayton staunchly maintains that you don’t have to live in a big city to be an advocate for high-quality architecture.
“You can promote good architecture in a small community just as well,” says Hayton, chief executive officer of Cambridge Libraries and Galleries. “You don’t have to be in Toronto.”
The 2009 recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) Advocate for Architecture award, Hayton is credited with playing an instrumental role in putting his city on the architectural map.
Working in conjunction with various architects, Hayton has brought his passion for art and contemporary architecture to bear in revitalizing his community “through a shared measure of civic courage and bold design,” RAIC said.
Hayton’s commitment to quality buildings is most recently manifested in the Hespeler Library, designed by Alar Kongats. A historic Carnegie library “boldly encased and expanded within an iconic cube of fritted glass, the resulting structure establishes a new standard for progressive architecture within the region.”
The project last year won an award of design excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects. It also was named one of the top 10 projects nationwide by Canadian Architect magazine.
In 2003, Hayton forged a partnership between the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and the Cambridge Libraries and Galleries to create a gallery of architecture and design.
Designed by Levitt Goodman Architects, the gallery is one of only two publicly funded galleries dedicated to architecture and design in all of Canada. That project also won an OAA design excellence award in 2008.
Most recently, the facility served as the commissioning gallery for Canada’s exhibition at the 2008 Venice Biennale of Architecture.
“People take pride in their community — in both their past and their future,” says Hayton, who has a master of library science degree from the University of Toronto and is a past president of the Ontario Library Association.
“My interest is in the future and I think exciting, progressive, modern architecture is one of the ways the community collectively shows its hope for the future.”
Hayton is the first librarian to receive the award, which is presented to an individual who has contributed to the elevation of architecture in the public realm and has shown significant support for the profession in Canada at the national, regional or local level.
Hayton’s contributions to the architectural landscape in Cambridge spurred a number of architectural firms as well as Cambridge mayor Doug Craig to nominate him for the award.
“Greg believes in the philosophy of bringing the outside world into the city of Cambridge through both design and exhibition,” says Craig.
Hayton will receive the award during the RAIC’s upcoming Festival of Architecture in Montreal.
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