“Without any preconceptions, I evolve a design from the  inside out, open to all possibilities.”


Douglas Cardinal

Founding Member

Architect/Designer/Planner, Activist/Philosopher/ Artist … Douglas is that and more.

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A Little Bit About Doug…

Douglas Cardinal’s life is dedicated to creating beautiful, thriving harmonious built environments. As an architect he builds buildings, as a planner and activist he builds communities, and as a leader and philosopher he builds bridges between dispersed cultures all over the world. Douglas Cardinal personifies the timelessness of a masterbuilder.

Born in 1934 in Calgary, Alberta, his mother augured early in his childhood that he would become an architect. His architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he worked at Jesson Milhouse Greeven with Fred Day and acquired scholarships to study at the renowned School of Architecture at the The University of Texas. There he found an intellectually stimulating and socially invigorating environment where in addition to his education in architecture, he benefitted from actively involving himself in the many human rights initiatives ignited in the United States in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. This commitment to bettering human conditions continues to be one of the major principles of his architecture, from the smallest detail to the overall design or masterplan. He continues his holistic multidisciplinary practice in Ottawa, Ontario where he currently resides.

Douglas is a forerunner of all philosophies of sustainability, green buildings and ecologically designed community planning. His architecture springs from his observations of Nature and his understanding that everything works seamlessly together. For him this principle is exemplified by the organic signature works of Borromini, Gaudi, Rudolph Steiner and Frank Lloyd Wright – all of whom have also substantiated such aliveness through beauty and grace in their architecture. Indeed, Douglas believes that the practical needs humans have for architecture must also include beauty if we are to achieve true sustainability and harmonious communities.


Douglas Cardinal is one of the visionaries of a new world where beauty, balance and harmony thrive, and where client, architect, and stakeholder build together in a common vision. His Curriculum Vitae and all the awards achieved throughout his brilliant career are simply a testimony of what the partnership of architect and client can achieve together.

Doug’s Honorary Degrees

  • 2012 Doctor of Letters Degree, Honorary Degree University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 2012 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • 2011 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan
  • 2003 Doctor of the University, Honorary Degree, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
  • 2002 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 2001 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
  • 2001 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
  • 2000 Doctor of Engineering, Honorary Degree, University of Lakehead, Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • 2000 Doctor of Letters Degree, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 1994 Doctor of Architecture, Honorary Degree, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1994 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario
  • 1994 Doctor of Humanities, Honorary Degree, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta
  • 1992 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario
  • 1990 Honorary Fellowship – Council of the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1990 Ryerson Fellowship, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1989 Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1983 Doctor of Fine Arts, Honorary Degree, Massachusetts School of Art, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


In recognition of such a wonderful principle, Douglas Cardinal has received many acknowledgments and awards including: fourteen Honourary Doctorates from several universities in Canada and the United States, the appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada – the greatest honour Canada as a nation bestows to its citizens, the Gold Medals in Architecture from the Royal Architectural Institute in Canada and the Union of Architects of Russia, honourary fellowships to the Society of American Registered Architects and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and the declaration of being “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” as a Professor and Academician by the International Association of Architects.

Specialties include:

Architecture, Planning and Design, 

Work Experience

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Douglas Cardinal Architects



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 Ojai, California 

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