Architect Alfred Waugh named one of 50 most powerful Canadians

Alfred Waugh, photo by Carl Kwan

Canadian architect Alfred Waugh has been named in Maclean’s 2021 Power List of 50 Canadians “who are breaking ground, leading the debate and shaping how we think and live.”

Waugh, who founded Vancouver-based architecture firm Formline, is the designer of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He  has also been selected to design Saskatoon’s Central Library with Chevalier Morales and Architecture49 and the University of Toronto’s Indigenous House with LGA Architectural Partners.

Waugh is part of the Fond Du Lac Denesuline First Nation in Northern Saskatchewan. Waugh has built his reputation on consulting with Indigenous communities to understand their needs and wisdom, and translating this knowledge into an inherently sustainable design that is respectful of its place, use of materials and local culture.

“Whether a client is First Nations or not, we try to pay attention to the locale and the people and make sure we have a sense of approach to the site as well as to the carbon footprint,” said Waugh in an interview published in Canadian Architect. “When you work with First Nations groups, they have their own architectural typology or their own cultural initiative they want to bring to a project. Indigenous people put cultural identity up at the top of the list. For other clients, that may not even be a concern.”

“The president of B.C.-based Formline Architecture leads a new generation of First Nations and Métis designers, who burst onto the international stage at the 2018 Venice Biennale with an exhibit called ‘Unceded,'” writes Jason Markusoff in the profile of Waugh for Maclean’s.

“For the purposes of the 2021 Maclean’s Power List, we canvassed the landscape for Canadians with qualities we think represent power in a time of transformative change,” writes the magazine. “By dint of their actions, words or character, they force us to watch, listen and learn. They are moving the needle in their chosen fields, and in many cases the wider world.”