The renowned Toronto architect Jack Diamond passed away on Tuesday, his firm announced. Diamond’s vision helped create some of Toronto’s most iconic buildings.
The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Museum Station, Corus Quay, Richmond Hill Central Library, and the Holy Blossom Temple were among Diamond’s projects. He passed away on Sunday afternoon, according to a statement from the company Diamond Schmitt.
Diamond, a South African native, first pursued a career in architecture before enrolling at Oxford University to study politics, philosophy, and economics. In the early 1960s, he traveled from there to Philadelphia before traveling to Toronto. His experience in South Africa’s apartheid regime left an irreparable mark, according to Don Schmitt, his business partner, who spoke on CBC Radio’s Here and Now. He started practicing architecture in 1968.
Ultimately, Diamond’s experiences in South Africa led to his departure, but they also significantly influenced the “activist” he ultimately became, according to Schmitt
“That sense of inequity and racism in society was something that he fought heavily against,” said Schmitt.
“He was always an activist in the sense of looking for solutions which had a community benefit,” Schmitt said. “All of those issues, his interest in human rights, all those commitments, I think, were part of what made him an architect but something much more.”
Diamond, though, made impacts well beyond Toronto.
Israel’s foreign ministry, city hall, The Mariinsky II Opera and Ballet Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the medical school at the University of British Columbia are among his other notable architectural accomplishments.
“Jack was a teacher, collaborator, and mentor who shaped an exhilarating studio culture,” his firm said in its statement.
Former Toronto mayor David Miller described Diamond in a tweet as “a towering presence in architecture globally.”
“He understood that city building is ultimately about people and about how they use buildings and public space,” he said.
Mayor John Tory also tweeted that he was saddened to hear of Diamond’s death.
“His legacy as a world-renowned architect will live on in so many of his projects here in Toronto,” he said in part.
‘Good policies must be based on good evidence’ -Jack Diamond
At the 2014 Heritage Toronto Awards, Diamond gave the William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture.
He discussed the necessity of investing in a “long-range” strategy for public infrastructure, including but not limited to public housing and transit, for Toronto and Canada as a whole in it. He said that the city needed to recommit to building capacity and making investments in the future.
“Our leadership hasn’t understood that and in fact, they go on about cutting taxes. I think that what we need is tax value, not tax cuts.”
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“There’s a mentality now that goes on simple slogans or a kind of negativity rather than looking at what the evidence is,” he said.
“I have a long list of where we have lost our way in Canada over the past eight years,” he said, pointing to cuts to Health Canada, and Environment Canada among other examples.
“Good policies must be based on good evidence. Democracy requires an informed electorate.”
Architect Jack Diamond’s early life.
Jack Diamond was born to a Jewish family on November 8, 1932, in Piet Retief, South Africa. b In London, England, Diamond’s great-grandfather practiced Judaism. Diamond’s great-grandfather perished in a pogrom in Lithuania in 1917. Prior to the Second World War, Diamond’s father, Jacob Diamond, immigrated to South Africa.
A house layout that Diamond created when he was four years old was preserved by Diamond’s mother. He was always interested in architecture. Buildings have been Diamond’s own special way of playing house. Diamond is passionate about a variety of artistic mediums, including painting, drawing, and music.
What university did Jack Diamond graduate from?
Diamond graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cape Town in 1956. Later, he attended University College, Oxford, where he completed his studies in philosophy, politics, and economics in 1958. In 1962, Diamond graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in architecture.
Who is Jack Diamond’s wife? Where did they first meet?
Jack Diamond was married to his wife Gillian. Jack Diamond and his wife Gillian met at Oxford University.