In Memoriam – Richard Stevens 1943-2023

Richard Lyle Stevens, former Practice Lead, Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC – IRAC), and dedicated visionary in transit architecture design, has passed away. 

Richard Stevens was one of the first Architects in Toronto to be called a Transit Architect. His 40-year career began in 1976 at Arthur Erickson Architects, where he eventually became Director of Projects. In 1989, Richard started Stevens Group Architects where he concentrated on his commitment to city-building through public projects. He later joined IBI Group as the leading face of transit architecture within Ontario and, ultimately, internationally.   

He was always a friend, respectful and supportive of the next generation of architects, and encouraged new and bright ideas and growth. A master at his craft, he had the ability to solve every detail and problem presented to him—big or small. His teammates knew they could always count on Richard to take out his pen and sketch a detail or solution when reviewing a drawing. His delivery was clear, humble, and articulate, and always contained a splash of humour”, says Charlie Hoang, Global Lead, Transit Architecture. 

One of Richard’s first transit projects was the Toronto Transit Commission’s Downsview Subway Station (renamed, Sheppard West Station). The station opened to the public in 1996 and was well received by the client and the public. This marked a watershed moment in transit architecture design and set many new precedents, including integrating artwork into station design, constructing a column-free platform, providing elevated wayfinding, and prioritizing accessibility. 

Richard’s projects exemplify a passenger-first approach, and this vision continues to influence Toronto’s transit network. Richard’s legacy remains visible to all, including the Don Mills and Bayview stations along the Sheppard Line; the Finch West and Pioneer Village stations on the recent York-Spadina Line extension; and the transformational Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit on the new Line 5, which includes the design of 25 new stations/stops. 

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