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Phyllis Lambert

LAMBERT, PHYLLIS (1927– ), Canadian architect and urban renewal advocate; she is the daughter of Sam (the industrialist and founder of Seagrams) and Saidye *Bronfman. Lambert was born in Montreal. She studied fine art at Vassar and at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. In 1963 she earned a degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. While still in her twenties and before earning her architectural degree, Sam Bronfman entrusted his daughter to direct construction of the landmark Seagram Building in New York. Ensuring the building would be an architectural showcase, she selected world-renowned Mies van der Rohe to be the project's architect. As an architect in her own right Lambert's designs include the Saidye Bronfman Center in Montreal.

Phyllis Lambert has been recognized for her tireless advocacy of modern architecture, concern for urban conservation, and for advancing the role of architecture in the public realm. She founded and directed the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, a leading museum and study center devoted to architecture past, present, and future. She was also deeply committed to advancing cooperative housing and urban renovation. Among her restoration projects is the ninth-century Ben Ezra Synogogue in Cairo known for its document-rich storeroom, or *Genizah. The synagogue had fallen into abject disrepair until this project begun in 1980; completed in 1991 it restored the building to a grandeur worthy of medieval Cairo.

Phyllis Lambert received many awards for her work, including the Order of Canada, the highest honor Canada can bestow on a citizen.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.