Jack Diamond (architect)

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Jack Diamond
Born (1932-11-08) November 8, 1932 (age 89)
Alma materUniversity of Cape Town
University College, Oxford
University of Pennsylvania
AwardsOrder of Canada
Order of Ontario

Abel Joseph "Jack" Diamond, OC OOnt (Born November 8, 1932) is a Canadian architect from Pier Retief, South Africa. Diamond arrived in Canada in 1964 for the University of Toronto. In 1974, he established his architectural practice, A.J Diamond Architects. This practice evolved into Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Early life and education

Jack Diamond was born on November 8, 1932 in Piet Retief, South Africa, and belongs to a Jewish Family. Diamond's great-grandfather was a rabbi in London, England. In 1917, Diamond's grandfather died in a pogrom in Lithuania. Diamond's father, Jacob Diamond, migrated to South Africa before the Second World War.

Diamond's mother had kept a house plan Diamond drew when he was four. His love for architecture begun at a young age. To Diamond, buildings have been always unique way of playing house. Diamond has a passion for various forms of art; painting, sketching, and music.

Diamond has a love for watercolor paintings and sketches. His house is decorated with cities and landscapes paintings from throughout his career. His sketches are published in a book by Douglas & McIntyre, called Sketches: From Here and There. The book consists of many sketches that resembles his very own sketch book.

In 1956, Jack Diamond received a Bachelor of Architecture from University of Cape Town. He subsequently studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford, graduating in 1958. Diamond received his Masters of Architecture at University of Pennsylvania in 1962. It was at Oxford University where Diamond met his wife, Gillian. In Philadelphia, Diamond worked with the reputable architect, Louis Kahn. In 1964, Diamond emigrated to Canada and became the director of the Architecture Program at University of Toronto.

In 1995, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1997.

He has served as a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1986 to 1989, as Chairman of the Design Advisory Committee for the National Capital, Ottawa and as a Commissioner of the Greater Toronto Area Task Force.

Career and Design Approach

Diamond begun his career in architecture in 1968, shortly after he joined University of Toronto He stayed with the University of Toronto until 1970.

In 1970, Diamond persuaded people in Toronto to consider heritage preservation of an old ceramics manufacturing plant. At the time, the idea of preserving an old warehouse was a bizarre concept. Diamond had borrowed money and renovated the building and live in one of the floors. The project was successful and other individuals showed interest. The old warehouse went under renovation and is later sold to Ed Mirvish. Diamond is a known pioneer in Toronto's heritage restoration.

In 1975, Diamond established his practice A.J Diamond Architects. In 1978, he forms a partnership with Donald Schmitt and Company and the practice evolved into Diamond and Schmitt Architects employing over 120 staff. Diamond Schmitt Architects have designed academic, cultural, commercial, healthcare, civic and residential buildings Their approach to architecture revolves around human activity. They challenge design in hopes of creating spaces that create a better way of living by using creative design strategies.

Notable Projects

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts opened in 2006. It is home to the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. The Performing Arts Centre design keeps the city noise of Toronto out.

United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Competition

The United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial was an international design competition held in 2017. Diamond Schmitt's entry was among the finalists, although it was ultimately not selected. Located in Victoria Tower Gardens, the entrance of the Memorial is a ramp that circles around the middle. The cast-iron walls are a darker material are a reminder of the events that took place in the Holocaust. The sunken middle opens up to the sky to bring lightness into the memorial and contrast to the darker walls. The middle of the Memorial is the 'Court of Conscience'. The names of the victims are the only sounds heard within the quiet memorial.

Mariinsky II

The Marinsky II opened in 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia. This theater was one of the first major Russia opera houses to be constructed in over a century. Acoustic quality and the experience of a performance were two main goals when designing the Mariinsky II. The main auditorium of the theater is clad in Onyx. The warm glow from the Onyx can be seen at street level outside. The warm glow is considered to be the artistic spirit from art institutions in Russia. The backstage is designed to allow for 5 stages to be worked on simultaneously, making it easier for crews working on productions. The theater is a symbolism of the power art has within Russia    

Other Projects

Work in progress


  • 1996: Works: The Architecture of A. J. Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company, 1968–1994
  • 2007: "Urban Form, Transportation and Sustainability". Ideas that Matter, July 30
  • 2007: "Sprawl is our 'Inconvenient Truth'". The Globe and Mail, May 18
  • 2008: Insight and On Site, The Architecture of Diamond and Schmitt.
  • 2010: Sketches from Here and There

Honors and Awards

  • 1976: Governor General's Medal in Architecture for the Citadel Theater in Edmonton
  • 1984: Governor General's Medal in Architecture for the Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA
  • 1989: Toronto Arts Award for Architecture and Design
  • 1990: Governor General's Medal in Architecture for the Earth Sciences Centre at University of Toronto
  • 1991: Governor General's Medal in Architecture for the York University Student Centre<
  • 1993: Governor General's Medal in Architecture for the Richmond Hill Central Library
  • 1995: Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa), Dalhousie University
  • 1995: Officer of the Order of Canada
  • 1997: Order of Ontario
  • 2001: Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal
  • 2001: Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture
  • 2005: Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Polo, Marco; French, Paul (30 August 2016). "Jack Diamond". The Canadian Encyclopedia (online ed.). Historica Canada.
  2. ^ a b "For U.K.'s Holocaust memorial, a Canadian architect envisions light in a personal darkness". Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  3. ^ a b Alberge, Dalya (2018-11-30). "Jack Diamond: the architect behind the transformation of Marlborough College's Memorial Hall". www.ft.com. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  4. ^ a b "Architect Jack Diamond". NUVO. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  5. ^ "Profile: Jack Diamond - University College Oxford Univ Oxford". University College Oxford. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  6. ^ a b "A drink with architect Jack Diamond". thestar.com. 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  7. ^ Order of Canada Archived 2007-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b "A.J. Diamond". Diamond Schmitt. 2019-02-07. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  9. ^ Order of Ontario Appointees Archived 2009-06-28 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "A.J (Jack) Diamond FCIP, RPP". Canadian Institute of Planners. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  11. ^ "The house that Jack Diamond built". Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  12. ^ "Projects". Diamond Schmitt. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  13. ^ "Our Approach". Diamond Schmitt. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  14. ^ "Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts". Diamond Schmitt. 2019-05-31. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  15. ^ "United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Competition". Diamond Schmitt. 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  16. ^ "Mariinsky II". Diamond Schmitt. 2019-02-07. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  17. ^ "MARIINSKY II". www.mariinsky.ru. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  18. ^ "Jerusalem City Hall Square." Canadian Architect 35(7), July 1990: 18-23.
  19. ^ Tommasini, Anthony. "A Brand New ‘Ring’ in a Brand New Space." The New York Times, September 14, 2006
  20. ^ "Southbrook Farms Limited". www.southbrook.com. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  21. ^ "WAN:: Diamond and Schmitt waterfront project by Diamond and Schmitt Architects in Toronto, Canada". www.worldarchitecturenews.com. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  22. ^ Diamond, A. J., Donald Schmit. Works: The Architecture of A. J. Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company, 1968–1995" Halifax: Tuns Press, 1996
  23. ^ Diamond, A. J., Donald Schmitt, and Don Gilmour. "Insight and On Site. The Architecture of Diamond and Schmitt". Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2008
  24. ^ Canadian Architect Review
  25. ^ "Douglas & McIntyre Publishers". www.dmpibooks.com. Retrieved 2018-01-03.

External links