• By: OLM Staff

Mourning the passing of Alex Rankin, co-designer of the Canadian War Museum

It is with great sadness that the Canadian War Museum marks the passing of Alex Rankin, one of the Museum’s co-designers who passed away on July 31, 2013 in Ottawa.

Mr. Rankin’s Ottawa-based firm GRC Architects, in a joint venture with Moriyama & Teshima Architects of Toronto, designed the new Canadian War Museum, which was completed in 2005. For their striking, moving design inspired by the deeds and stories of Canadian veterans, Mr. Rankin and Raymond Moriyama were awarded the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture in 2008.

“Alex Rankin’s passing is a loss to all Canadians,” said James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “He and Raymond Moriyama created a structure that in its design and materials embodies war’s sequence of devastation, survival and rebirth. Alex’s deep commitment to expressing through architecture the courage and sacrifices of Canada’s veterans and their families was inspiring to all who worked with him.”

“Alex and I have been friends for over thirty years. We always wanted to form a joint venture when the ‘Perfect Project’ came along. It did in the form of the Canadian War Museum. The joint venture of Griffith Rankin Cook and Moriyama & Teshima was one made in heaven. But even stronger and more extraordinary was a bond between two men. We were soul brothers,” said Raymond Moriyama, co-founder of Moriyama & Teshima Architects. “Alex was a great man – full of honour, passion, integrity, Irish humour, love of the profession and good architecture, and a complete devotion to ‘his Liz’ and son Peter. He will be greatly missed”.

Alex Rankin was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1939 and was educated in Ireland and England. The son of an engineer, he began his training in art, shifting his focus to architecture as a practical way to merge art with engineering. He worked with his first mentor, internationally recognized architect Geoffrey Powell, on the design of London’s Barbican Centre, the largest performing arts venue in Europe. After moving to Canada in 1965, he joined the Ottawa firm of brothers Tim and Pat Murray, becoming a partner in 1972. In 1985, he co-founded with Tony Griffiths and John Cook the firm Griffiths Rankin Cook Architects, shortened to GRC Architects in 2009. Although GRC specializes in public projects in Canada, the firm has completed projects in many other countries, including Malawi, England, Ireland and Jamaica.

Throughout his career, Mr. Rankin was deeply committed to advancing the practice of architecture and played key roles in many professional organizations, including the vice presidency of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.