Please could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live and work as an artist in Ottawa. I am originally from Montreal, where I trained to be an architect. I worked for 25 years as an architect in Montreal, Yellowknife and Ottawa.

What sorts of buildings did you design?

In my final year at McGill School of Architecture, I worked with a community in St. Henri in Montreal that was fighting the proposed demolition of a part of their neighbourhood to allow for the construction of a new exit from the highway. We proposed alternatives to the city, including the construction of in-fill housing. The exit was relocated and the proposal for in-fill was accepted. Together with my visiting professor, Ray Affleck of a firm called Arcop Associates, we designed and built 15 small units on vacant lots. It was the first in-fill public housing built in Montreal. The buildings are still there between Atwater and rue Lacasse.

I had always wanted to live in the north, so a few years later I moved to the Northwest Territories. At first I worked for the government on school projects, but I was managing architects rather than being an architect, which is what I wanted to do. Also, I felt that I was on the wrong side of the fence at a time when young native leaders were demanding more power from Ottawa. I left the government and then worked for the Dene, designing many houses, two community centres and band offices in the Mackenzie Valley. Continue reading “A conversation with Stuart Kinmond”