Douglas Cardinal Biography
Architect Douglas Cardinal was hired in 1972 to design Grande Prairie Regional College - his first major building, which provided the springboard to an illustrious international career. Douglas Cardinal was presented with the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in March 2001 and is the recipient of Canada's most coveted honour, the Order of Canada.
Mr. Cardinal believes that the design of each building is a spiritual act that demands from all those participating in it, the very best of their endeavors. At the start of each project, he declares a total commitment to excellence in architecture and to serving the needs of his client, and demands the same commitment from all of his staff and sub-consultants. His contribution to the fields of architecture has earned him several awards, provincially and nationally, as well as national and international recognition. He was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Gold Medal in 1999.
His firm is one of North America’s leading users of the computer-aided drafting autoCAD system. This system imparts a high degree of professionalism, accuracy, speed and coordination to all of his work, releasing him and his staff from exacting manual tasks and leaving them free to devote the necessary time to design refinement. Mr. Cardinal has developed a painstakingly thorough process of designing “from the inside – out”. He states:
“In my profession and in my daily living, I have always maintained that the endeavour of all people should be directed towards a betterment of the human condition. Therefore in my role as a planner and architect, as the coordinator of technologists, I see a tremendous opportunity to petition the needs of the individual and to reinstate our humanness as the most important element in all our efforts. I have found that by placing the needs of the human being before the systems that modern man has created, we can ensure that the man is indeed served by these systems rather than becoming a slave to them. Through several projects undertaken by my firm and myself, I have demonstrated my dedication for working with people and improving the human condition. The Canadian Museum of Civilization celebrates the achievements and future promise of the people of Canada; St. Mary’s Church reflects the responsiveness of the New Liturgy to the needs of the community; the Grande Prairie Regional College fills an expressed need for an integration of the educational, cultural and recreational needs of the people of Canada, and to provide a welcome relief from the harsh winters of the North.”
Mr. Cardinal’s recognition spans several areas: speaking engagements on such topics as educational philosophy (he developed the White Paper, a master Plan for Education in Alberta), his experience with computers (he has addressed several international conferences including one in Barcelona), city planning, old age housing, public health, urban planning and environmental design. He is included in numerous publications, including Explore Canada by George Ronald and A Decade of Canadian Architecture; by Carole Moore Ede. His work has been exhibited in France, Belgium and Poland; in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and throughout Canada.
Douglas Cardinal was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1934. The son of a game warden, he studied architecture at the University of British Columbia and the University of Texas, from where he graduated with honours in 1963. He practiced in Edmonton for 18 years and then moved his practice to Ottawa in 1985.
For more information about Douglas J. Cardinal, please visit his website at: http://www.djcarchitect.com/