TORONTO — Jack Diamond, one of the founders of architecture firm Diamond Schmitt, passed away Oct. 30, a week shy of his 90th birthday.
Known for designing notable buildings in Canada and around the world, Diamond was born in South Africa, educated in architecture at the University of Capetown and in politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University.
Diamond established his first architectural practice in South Africa. After teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and working with the legendary Louis Kahn he inaugurated the Master of Architecture program at the University of Toronto in 1964, states an obituary on the Diamond Schmitt website. After that Toronto became his home.
Over the years he worked on a number of projects including the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; The Foreign Ministry and the City Hall, both in Jerusalem, Israel; the Mariinsky II Opera and Ballet Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Life Sciences Centre and Medical School at the University of British Columbia.
He was a teacher, collaborator and mentor.
Diamond was a gold medalist of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
One of his last projects was the 2016 design for the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens adjacent to Whitehall and the British Parliament in London. The design fused his passion for human rights, social inclusion, equity and a just society with a powerful architecture that engaged the landscape and shaped a visitor’s journey from darkness towards light, the obituary states.
“Jack Diamond’s contribution to urban reform was profound. He led the implementation of infill housing in Toronto to strengthen existing neighbourhoods at risk. He demonstrated the economic and societal benefits of transforming heritage for new uses,” it reads. “He illustrated low-rise alternatives to highrise development at comparable land use densities. He articulated the negative impacts of low density suburban sprawl on public transit, servicing costs, social cohesion and the environment.”
A celebration life will be held on Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.