Up North, Where Canada's Architecture Meets the Land

The legacy of Canadian architecture grows out of the landscape, a landscape that is mythic in its scale and power. Up north, architecture rarely competes with the awe-inspiring forces of nature. It digs into the side of a hill or a mountain, or it rises up to match the temper of the land. In Canada, there is an unabashed intimacy between architecture and landscape.How do award-winning Canadian architects continue to distinguish themselves in the worlds hyper-market of design? By doing what they've been doing since the 1940s: making meaningful, authentic sense of modernism.

The award-winning architecture that Canadians are producing today is not a concoction brewed up to suit the globalized aesthetic of design. It belongs to a legacy of intelligence in architecture that began on the West Coast: human-scaled, finely crafted architecture that heightened the sense of place. Over the past several decades, the best Canadian architects have developed a modern design language that never abandoned a strong sense of place.

Original analysis and insights are drawn from the author's extensive experience as the national architecture critic and her in-depth interviews with the gurus of Canadian architecture: Frank Gehry, Eberhard Zeidler, Raymond Moriyama, as well as the younger superstars such as Bruce Kuwabara, the Patkaus and Shim-Sutcliffe Architects.

Up North was shortlisted for the 2006 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, announced October 19, 2006.

Administered by Wilfred Laurier University, the award supports and encourages a beginning Canadian writer publishing a work with national significance.



...Rochon has written the most passionately informed and ecstatically enthusiastic book on Canadian architecture ever penned. Now her publisher should get the best of her newspaper columns between covers, pieces that may have less of a pastoral focus, but utilize her finely tuned knowledge of urban design. She proves the uselessness of the quip that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Those believing that have forgotten that the great Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle saw fine writing as "the dance of the intellect." And Rochon's thoughtful writing packs so powerful a wallop that it can get our minds dancing about architecture up north in a second.”

  • American architecture critic Norman Weinstein's review of Up North in the American Review of Canadian Studies, December 22, 2006 is available online (Click here)

Lisa Rochon has written the definitive guide to Canada's contemporary architecture.”

  • Read a PDF of Joe Berridge's review of Up North in the Literary Review of Canada, April 2006 (Click here)

This engagingly written, beautifully produced book deserves to be a fixture on the coffee tables of the nation.

  • Read Alex Bozikovic's online review of Up North in Quill & Quire, December 2005 (Click here)


Read the following excerpts from Up North in PDF format:

You can purchase Up North at most fine bookstores and online stores.