Raymond Moriyama

Raymond Moriyama CC OOnt (born October 11, 1929)[1] is a Canadian architect.

Raymond Moriyama

Born (1929-10-11) October 11, 1929
AwardsGovernor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts
PracticeMoriyama & Teshima Architects

Of Japanese descent, Moriyama with his family was forced out of Vancouver and confined to an internment camp during the Second World War. He has said that these years have particularly informed his later career.

Early life and education

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Raymond Moriyama suffered burns as a four-year-old and was sometimes teased about his scars. During the eight months he spent bedridden after the accident, he saw an architect coming and going from a nearby construction site, "with a blueprint under his arm and a pipe in his mouth." Moriyama decided then and there that he would become an architect too.[2]

Moriyama's father was an outspoken pacifist who was arrested and made a Prisoner of War for his activism. Moriyama, at the age of twelve, was left to run the family hardware store along with his two sisters and pregnant mother. Shortly after, he and his family were moved into an internment camp in the Slocan Valley, in the interior of British Columbia.[2] Japanese Canadians on the West Coast were classified as security threats, in a policy similar to that of the United States. He said these years were influential in his later career.[3]

Moriyama has described his experiences in internment camps as miserable, but also says he built his first architectural project while interned, a treehouse with scrap parts:[4]

In despair, I decided to bathe in the Slocan River on the other side of a little mountain away from the camp. The water was glacial, but it was better than hot tears. To see who might be coming, I built an observation platform. Soon I found myself wanting to build my first architectural project, a tree house, without being found out by the RCMP. I used just an axe as a hammer, an old borrowed saw, six spikes, some nails, a rope, and mostly branches and scraps from the lumberyard. It was hard work building it by myself, and it was a lesson in economy of material and means.

That tree house, when finished, was beautiful. It was my university, my place of solace, a place to think and learn.

After the war, his family reunited with his father and they resettled in Hamilton, Ontario, where he attended Westdale Secondary School and worked in a pottery factory. Ambidextrous, he was able to finish his piecework quickly, and his bosses allowed him to use his extra time to study for school.[2]

Moriyama received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto in 1954, and a Master of Architecture degree in civic and town planning from McGill University in 1957.

His son Jason is now partner in the firm.[5]


After years of working with other firms, in 1970 Moriyama co-founded a private practice in Toronto with Ted Teshima, Moriyama & Teshima Architects.[1] Teshima retired in 2006 and died in 2016.[6]

In 1985, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and promoted to Companion in 2008. He was also inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1992.

In 1997, he received the RAIC Gold Medal, Canadian Architecture's highest honour.

In 1999, he was the key architect for designing of the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

From 2001 to 2007, he served as the Chancellor of Brock University in St Catharines, Ontario. He has designed several buildings at Brock University from the 1970s onwards.

In 2004, he was made a member of the Order of the Rising Sun, a Japanese award given in recognition for his services to Japanese culture in Canada.[7]

In 2007, he was honoured with a postage stamp by Canada Post featuring his design for the Ontario Science Centre.[8]

In 2009, he was one of nine laureates to receive a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

In 2012, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. He also created a $200,000 endowment with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada called the Moriyama RAIC International Prize.[9]

In June 2013, he received a honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary.

Notable projects

Other Projects


  1. Raymond Moriyama, Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  2. "Architect Raymond Moriyama on internment: Canada's stories". Macleans.ca. 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  3. "The Architecture of a Life". U of T Magazine. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  4. "The Architecture of a Life | Raymond Moriyama Architect, Canada World War Two, Japanese POW Camp | Winter 2018 | University of Toronto Magazine". magazine.utoronto.ca. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  5. http://mtarch.com/people/jason-moriyama/
  6. http://mtarch.com/ted-teshima/
  7. "Raymond Moriyama receives Award From Emperor of Japan". Canadian Architect. 2004-02-04. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  8. "Canada Post Honours Moriyama | By Stacey Gibson | Canada Post Stamp of Ontario Science Centre, Raymond Moriyama Architect | Winter 2018 | University of Toronto Magazine". magazine.utoronto.ca. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  9. "Prestigious new award for architecture endowed by Raymond Moriyama, FRAIC". Canadian Architect. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  10. Emanuel Muriel (1980), "Contemporary Architects", Palgrave Macmillan. p563
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