For Phyllis Lambert's, FAIA, 90th birthday on Jan. 24, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal began to showcase both her philanthropic and built work in an exhibition called "Phyllis Lambert: 75 Years At Work." Curated by Lambert herself, the native-born Canadian's exhibition will guide visitors chronologically through significant projects in her life including the Saidye Bronfman Centre (named after her mother), photography, and restoration projects, and her last exhibition as the director of CCA, "Mies in America."
Lambert’s first architectural venture was the Seagram Building, located in New York, which she oversaw as the Director of Planning in 1958. She enlisted Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the architect of the building, and Philip Johnson as the interior architect, who's efforts all helped in winning the AIA's Twenty-Five Year Award in 1984.
In 1979, she founded and designed the the CCA, an international research institution and museum, with an intention to increase public awareness of architecture’s function in society in addition to encouraging scholarly research.
Lambert's philanthropic work takes place in preserving architectural history. Her role in the restoration of the Biltmore Hotel in 1976, originally designed in 1921 by Schultze & Weavers, in Los Angeles saved the building from demolition. She states in her exhibition, "The renovated hotel re-established its prominence and encouraged a rebirth in part of the old downtown." In 1979, she established Heritage Montreal which focuses on preserving the city’s architectural, historic, natural and cultural heritage. In an effort to revive low income neighborhoods, Lambert also formed the Montreal Investment Funds in 1997.
Lambert, also dubbed "Joan of Architecture," is famously known for saying, "You must build things that express the best qualities of the society in which you live.” She was awarded the Vincent J. Scully Prize from the National Building Museum in Washington in 2006 for her contributions to the built environment, public awareness of architecture, and commitment to architectural preservation.
Her exhibition is on display now through June 4.