Dual Lecture: Brian MacKay-Lyons (MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects) & Anssi Lassila (Office for Peripheral Architecture)

Thursday, February 15, 2024
5:00PM - 6:00PM
Kresge Theater, College of Fine Arts
Headshots of Brian MacKay-Lyons (MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects) & Anssi Lassila (Office for Peripheral Architecture)

Dual Lecture: Brian MacKay-Lyons (MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects) & Anssi Lassila (Office for Peripheral Architecture)

Supported by the Doug Cooper, A 1970, Fund for Drawing and Architecture

5:00 pm ET, Kresge Theatre, College of Fine Arts, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213


image of man writing in a notebook

Brian MacKay-Lyons was born and raised in the village of Arcadia in Nova Scotia, on the East coast of Canada. Brian received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1978 and his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California Los Angeles, in the United States. 

He has developed a leading global practice from Nova Scotia that has been honoured with over 160 design awards, including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Gold Medal in 2015 and the RAIC Firm Award in 2014; eight Governor General Medals; six American Institute of Architects (AIA) National and International Honor Awards of Architecture; fifteen Lieutenant Governor’s Medals of Excellence; eight Canadian Architect Awards; four Architectural Record Houses Awards; and thirteen North American Wood Design & Building Awards. 

A fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC), and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), Brian MacKay-Lyons was named Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon. FAIA) in 2001 and in 2016 was made an International Fellow by the Royal Institute of British Architects (FRIBA) in London. In 2022, Brian was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contribution to the architectural community. Brian was a full professor and faculty member at Dalhousie University for 37 years and has held 17 endowed academic chairs and visiting professorships at leading universities worldwide, such as: The Peter Behrens School of Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard University, and University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design. 

Twenty years after founding the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design, Brian partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited. In 2017, Brian and Talbot were honoured as laureates of the prestigious Global Award for Sustainable Architecture by the Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, under the patronage of UNESCO. The work of the firm has been recognized in 900+ publications including eight monographs and has been featured in 100+ exhibitions internationally. 

interior of a large modern gathering space

Anssi Lassila is the founder and director of OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture and Professor of Contemporary Architecture at Oulu School of Architecture. His architecture combines a sculptural form with traditional materials and innovative techniques. Placing the human being at the center, he has a keen interest in exploring the potential of wood as a sustainable solution and in developing new systems of modularity. His personal experience in working with wood extends from building with hand carved logs to the use of CLT. His work has been recognized with some of the highest merits achievable both in Finland and internationally. 

OOPEAA works on a wide range of projects from churches and public buildings to housing and urban visions. There is an active focus on research and development with an emphasis on social and ecological sustainability. A desire to find solutions that take advantage of the natural qualities of materials and a willingness to courageously explore new ways of doing things is at the core of their work. Their objective is to create architecture and milieus that are functional, technically and ecologically sustainable, of aesthetically high quality, and committed to the location. The office is based in Seinäjoki and Helsinki, Finland.

Anssi’s recommended readings:

  • OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture, Arvinius + Orpheus Publishers, Stockholm, 2014

  • Todd Saunders and Jonathan Bell: Share: Conversations about Contemporary Architecture – The Nordic Countries, Artifice Press, 2022

  • Junihiro Tanizaki: In Praise of Shadows, Vintage Publishing, 2001, reprinted 2019, 

  • Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser, 2010.