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Download Paul Kariouk's CV (PDF) Background & Philosophy

Paul Kariouk
Photograph © Mark Schacter  |  luxetveritas.net

The work of my office focuses upon residential and commercial commissions involving new construction and extensive renovations and landscape. I received my architectural degree from Columbia University and I have over twenty-five years of experience in the profession; in 2001 moved from New York City to Ottawa where I established my own design practice: Kariouk Associates. I currently employ a staff of four and am building projects throughout Ontario, Quebec, as well as in Nova Scotia, Manhattan, the Caribbean, and as far away as Malta. I am a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and hold professional licenses in New York, Virginia, and Ontario.

My design work has received many awards, including that of the AIA, which is the highest design honor given in the United States. My work has also been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries, including New York's Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and has been honoured with extensive publications in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The professional pursuit of architecture of the highest order always involves a simultaneous active relationship with university schools of architecture and teaching. I am very actively involved in architectural education and have taught throughout North America and lectured in many countries. Furthermore, my capacity to understand and manage architectural design’s aesthetic and technologically-driven components has earned me the position of Associate Professor with tenure in the School of Architecture at Carleton University. I am also dedicated to furthering public knowledge via my volunteering for city-wide public meetings on topics of progressive urban renewal and sustainability; as such, I am asked periodically to appear on CBC Radio as a guest commentator.

The quality of work that I am able to achieve in my office requires many iterations completed alongside my clients. Given that construction is expensive, it is imperative that I find a common “language” to enable every client to understand exactly what I am proposing so that all of the options can be fully pondered so as to subsequently provide me with a great deal of feedback. To develop the numerous iterations that ultimately evolve into what becomes the design direction involves a great deal of drawings, perspectives, computer modeling, and perhaps most importantly in my office, numerous physical models. Without such extensive architectural representations it is very difficult for a client, regardless how knowledgeable about construction, to be in control of the actual design being commissioned.

Contrary to popular opinion, neither a large budget nor a remarkable site are themselves necessarily for excellent design. I believe that responsible design is never about imposing a pre- determined solution. Rather, my approach is always to respond to my client's needs in relation to a particular set of circumstances — be they budgetary, pragmatic, legal/zoning, etc. — involving opportunities, limitations, and challenges. No project exists without limitations and challenges, which ultimately are not impediments to my design work, but rather the catalysts for design that is as sensible as it is unique. Related to this, I take great pride in the fact that my work is based on rigorous, incremental design explorations and subsequent iterations rather than arbitrary design formula or preconceived style trends: no two of my projects look the same, as each project’s design is deeply personalized proceeding from the close, personal dialogue with my clients to whose requests I listen with great care, and together as a team we are each thoroughly involved in every aspect of the home’s evolution. This process is always as much a journey for me as for my clients.

Further, I am dedicated to environmental stewardship and in my consultations with clients always aim to promote means for reducing the consumption of natural resources. I believe that environmentally-ethical design begins with efficiency and I always demonstrate to my clients they can achieve their “dream homes” in less space than they originally imagined; furthermore, in this way, their building costs, and the use of natural resources, are reduced. To those ends, I keep the following sentiments close to heart: “You know you have reached perfection of design not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away,” which was said by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and furthermore, “Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it,” which was the architectural premise of Leonardo Da Vinci.