Shore Tilbe Irwin + Partners

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Shore Tilbe Irwin + Partners
Industry Architecture
Founded 1945
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Stephen Irwin
D'Arcy Arthurs
Andrew Frontini
Duff Balmer
Brian Aitken
Stephen Ploeger
David Mitchell

Shore Tilbe Irwin + Partners (STIP), now Shore Tilbe Perkins+Will, is an architecture firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Since its founding as Shore and Moffat in 1945, STI&P completed numerous buildings, complexes, and master plans across Canada, as well as in locations in the United States and Bermuda. From early educational and residential projects, the firm rose to prominence in the early 1950s, winning Governor General's Medals in Architecture and commissions from the government of Ontario for departmental buildings, and went on to design prominent landmarks such as Purdy's Wharf in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the redesign of Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. STI+P's scope today mostly encompasses community centres, libraries, pharmaceutical laboratories, and office and university teaching buildings, though the firm has also completed religious spaces, corporate interiors, and public plazas.


Purdy's Wharf, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, designed by STI+P in 1989.

Founded as Shore and Moffat by Leonard Shore and Bob Moffat in 1945, the first project completed was the Meaford Public School in Meaford, Ontario. After the completion of some small-scale residential and commercial projects, the two partners received their first large commission from the Ontario Food Terminal Board in Toronto, in 1947.

By the early 1950s the firm had expanded to take on 10 employees, including Alfred Tilbe. Schools and other educational buildings supplied most of the work, and the firm completed Brock High School, Goderich Collegiate, Stayner Collegiate, and Collingwood Collegiate. Shore and Moffat designed the York Township Municipal Offices in 1952, which won them the Massey Medal. They also submitted a proposal for the Toronto City Hall international competition,[1] which was ultimately unsuccessful. The later part of the decade brought three significant projects: the William Lyon Mackenzie Building, which was to be the second-largest building in Toronto at the time; the Union Carbide Head Office, and the Imperial Oil Research Centre. The later building won Shore and Moffat another Massey Medal, and launched the firm into the research field, bringing them projects for Petro Canada, Royal Dutch Shell, and Teck Cominco. By 1959 the office had expanded to 40 staff, and was now providing engineering services as well.

In terms of design credentials, the Union Carbide Building was a significant project for the office, built near the intersection of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, it was one of the first corporate headquarters built north of the downtown core. Said of it: "While one may not agree on its historicity, one can't dismiss the fact that the Union Carbide building is unique, both structurally and aesthetically. It was engineered in such a way that its weight is supported entirely by its outside columns; uncluttered by posts, these airy interiors could be easily adapted to different needs. The builders chose to give the building an interesting mix of materials; granite, nickel and stainless steel creating a countenance full of dignity and character. Equally significant was that Union Carbide was one of north Toronto's first major corporate headquarters."[2] It was demolished in July 1999, an act lamented by the Toronto Star architecture critic, Christopher Hume.[3]

In 1960 Bob Moffat died, and the firm of 150 was renamed Shore and Moffat and Partners. Projects included the master plans for the University of Waterloo and the York University campuses, as well as the National Research Science Library and the Alexander Campbell Building in Ottawa. Schools remained a staple source of income, however, into the 1970s demand for their construction was declining, and thus Shore and Moffat turned its focus elsewhere. The partners at the time, Len Shore, Art Henschel and Alf Tilbe, hired Stephen Irwin, appointed him partner, and changed the firm name to Shore Tilbe Henschel Irwin Architects and Engineers. Irwin's designs at this time included 52 Division Police Station in Toronto, the Xerox Research Centre, and the Kortright Centre. Within a few years the firm changed the company name to Shore Tilbe Henschel Irwin and Peters when Dennis Peters was brought aboard as a partner.

With the award winning design of the North York YMCA by Terry Fitsialos in 1979, Shore Tilbe Henschel Irwin and Peters long relationship with the YMCA begun. Fitsialos, an associate at the time, became a partner in 1986. Other buildings designed by the firm during this time were H.J.A. Brown Education Centre, Peel Regional Police Headquarters, and the post-modern Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters.

Leonard Shore died in 1989, and as he had no immediate family, the Shore Foundation was created in his memory to assist the University of Toronto, and the L.E. Shore Memorial Library in Thornbury, Ontario.

Model of the University of Toronto at Mississauga Campus Academic Learning Centre, completed in 2006

In early 1990 partners Arthur Herschel and Dennis Peters retired and Brian Aitken and David Mitchell were made partners. The firm's name changed once again to Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners. The scope of work expanded again to include extended care, academic facilities, pharmaceutical laboratories and recreational architecture. During this time the L.E Shore Library was completed, as well as the Mississauga Public Library. In 1999 Alfred Tilbe died.

Even though STIP continued to win awards, the firm was seen as coasting on its reputation, failing to provide forward looking design and planning, and faced the danger of becoming simply a drawing production office.[4]

The new millennium brought about dramatic changes within the STIP's structure and direction which was spearheaded by D'Arcy Arthurs.[4] In 2000 the firm saw the expansion of Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partner's in-house interior design department and then in 2002 the addition of Andrew Frontini to the firm's team. Frontini became partner in 2005. Under Frontini's direction the Whitby Public Library and Civic Square was completed and featured in, and on, the cover of Canadian Architect magazine. This project was hailed as marking Shore Tilbe's turning point.[4] Frontini also designed the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus. Duff Balmer, the designer of the Angus Glen Community Centre in Markham, Ontario was also an integral part of the renaissance at STIP. Balmer is credited as the lead designer on the Health and Wellness Centre at the UofT Mississauga Campus; the former winning the National Post/Design Exchange Silver Award in 2005.

In joint venture with Kohn Shnier Architects (KSa), STIP completed the award winning renovations to the E.J. Pratt Library at Victoria University on the UofT St. George Campus. John Potter, who led the KSa team on the Pratt Library project went on to join STIP in 2006. Another notable project was the Canadian National Institute for the Blind Headquarters in Toronto done in joint venture with Sterling Finlayson Architects (currently Sweeny Sterling Finlayson &Co Architects Inc. as a result of a 2005 merger).

Environmental sustainability has become more and more prevalent in STIP's designs, demonstrated in the greenhouse gas reduction technology used in the Fathom Five National Marine Park/Bruce Peninsula National Park visitors' centre, The Wellness Centre at the UofT Mississauga Campus (UTM) also incorporated green roofs, one of which was intended for use by the biology department. The Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Center at the UTM was the first project at the University of Toronto to achieve LEED Certification. STIP is currently working on a number of projects aiming for LEED Gold Certification including the London Community Recreation Centre & Library and the East Markham Community Centre & Library.

On March 8, 2007, it was announced at Toronto City Hall that STIP, along with PLANT Architect, had been awarded the $40 million redesign of the iconic Nathan Phillips Square.

In February 2010 Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners merged with Chicago-based Perkins+Will to form Shore Tilbe Perkins+Will. In May 2011, the firm merged with Ottawa-based Vermeulen Hinde and together with Vancouver-based Busby Perkins+Will the three rebranded to form Perkins+Will Canada, a unified national practice.[citation needed]

Partners, associates, and key staff[edit]

  • Stephen Irwin
  • D'Arcy Arthurs
  • Duff Balmer
  • Brian Aitken
  • Stephen Ploeger
  • David Mitchell
  • Phil Fenech
  • Jan-Willem Gritters
  • Alan Mortsch
  • Linda Neumayer
  • Werner Sommer
Interior design
  • Liz Livingston
  • Diana Shams


A gallery of some of STIP's recent projects:

Brief list of some of STI+P's other projects:

Year Building Image & info
1958 Union Carbide Building @ Emporis Buildings
1960 30 Adelaide Street East @ Emporis Buildings
1967 McLennan Physical Laboratories @ Emporis Buildings
1969 Mowat Block @ Emporis Buildings
1969 Ferguson Block @ Emporis Buildings
1977 Joseph Sheppard Federal Building @ Emporis Buildings
1988 Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters @ Emporis Buildings
1994 180 Simcoe Street @ Emporis Buildings
1999 Eglinton Spectrum Public School -
2001 Steeles Technology Campus @ Emporis Buildings
2004 CNIB Headquarters -
2006 University of Toronto at Mississauga Campus Athletic and Wellness Centre -
2006 University of Toronto at Mississauga Campus Academic Learning Centre -


Year Award Level Building
1964 OMRC Award for outstanding design and masonry workmanship - B/A Engine Testing Laboratory
1965 OMRC Award for outstanding design and masonry workmanship - Consolidated Mining Product Research Laboratory
1966 OMRC Award for outstanding design and masonry workmanship - Steacic Science Library
1968 OMRC Award for outstanding design and masonry workmanship - University of Waterloo Central Services Building
1969 OMRC Award for outstanding design and masonry workmanship - McLaughlin College, York University
1978 Habitation Space International Award - -
1980 Habitation Space International Award - -
1981 Habitation Space International Award - -
1981 Mississauga Urban Design Award - Gulf Oil High Bay Warehouse
1983 Mississauga Urban Design Award - Allelix Inc. Biotechnology Laboratory
1984 Mississauga Urban Design Award - Xerox Research Centre
1984 Mississauga Urban Design Award Citation H.J.A. Brown Education Centre
1986 Mississauga Urban Design Award Citation H.J.A Brown Education Centre
1989 Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award - Xerox Research Centre
1989 Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award - H.J.A. Brown Education Centre
1991 Mississauga Urban Design Award Award of Excellence Mississauga Central Library and Civic Square
1993 Mississauga Urban Design Award Award of Excellence Hewlett Packard Canadian Head Office
1996 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence - -
1996 Ontario Association of Architects 25 Year Award - Union Carbide Building
1997 Ontario Library Association Library Design Award - Leonard E. Shore Memorial Library[5]
2000 Toronto Urban Design Award Honourable Mention Eglinton Spectrum Public School
2000 Mississauga Urban Design Award Millennium Design Icon Mississauga Civic Centre and Library
2000 Mississauga Urban Design Award Millennium Design Icon Xerox Research Centre
2001 Mississauga Urban Design Award Award of Merit Erin Mills Multi-use Complex
2002 Oakville Urban Design Award Award of Excellence Oakville YMCA
2004 City of London Overall Urban Design Award - London Central Library[6]
2005 National Post/Design Exchange Award Silver Angus Glen Community Centre
2006 Wood Works Design Award Lerge institution Angus Glen Community Centre
2006 Wood Works Design Award Building the Future General
2006 Ontario Association of Architects Good Design is Good Business Award - Angus Glen Community Centre
2006 Ontario Association of Architects Architectural Excellence Award Honourable Mention Chemical Sciences Building, Trent University
2006 ARIDO Public & Institutional Spaces Award Award of Merit Whitby Public Library and Civic Square[7]


External links[edit]