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Background & Philosophy

Paul Kariouk
Photograph © Mark Schacter  |  luxetveritas.net

My work focuses upon residential and commercial commissions, involving new construction, interior renovation, additions, landscape, and museum installations. While a great deal of the work is located in Ontario, Quebec, and New York City, my work reaches as far as Seattle, Nova Scotia, and the Caribbean. I received my professional architectural degree from Columbia University in New York City, and am licensed to practice architecture by the State of New York. I have over twenty five years of experience in the profession, and in 2001 moved to Ottawa where I established my own design practice: Kariouk Associates. I am certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, am a Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the American Institute of Architects, and I have been a member of the Executive Council of the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects.

My design work has received many awards, including that of the American Institute of Architects, which is the highest design honor given in the United States. My work has 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 where my installation, (a)way station, designed and completed with Mabel Wilson, was acquired for that museum's permanent collection. My work has been published in numerous books, such international journals as Architectural Record, I.D., and Azure and has been featured on television including the series House and Home and Homes by Design. (On this website I have provided links to recent publications and other media coverage.)

I am very actively involved in architectural education and have taught throughout North America and lectured in many countries. I am a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at Carleton University. My scholarly work and critical commentaries appear in such journals as Architecture Magazine, anthologies such as the Pragmatist Imagination published by Princeton Architectural Press (an essay co-written with Mabel Wilson), and I can be heard periodically on CBC Radio as a guest commentator on issues of urban and public space.

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. Hence, contrary to popular opinion, budget and site are not in themselves relevant to good design. It is a misconception that only wealthy clients with large budgets employ designers; the mainstay of my work is provided to intelligent, quality-minded clients with modest means who are seeking to take limited means and to create added value for that budget than would be otherwise possible if instead they rushed into a construction endeavor without sufficient planning and preparation. I am dedicated to environmental stewardship and promote both "high-tech" and "low-tech" means for reducing the consumption of natural resources. I believe that environmentally-ethical design begins with efficiency and it is commonplace for me to design projects that are achieved in less space than my clients originally imagined, and in this way, their building costs, and the use of natural resources, are reduced. My work with my clients is always built upon a very frank and comfortable relationship, where our mutual desire is the resolution of pragmatic needs through original, pragmatic, and certainly beautiful, well-crafted design and construction.