January 28, 2015
by Canadian Architect
Samuel (Sam) Óghale Oboh, FRAIC, was announced as the 76th President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada at a recent formal 2015 President Investiture Ceremony.
About 130 Canadian and international guests attended the ceremony at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, which featured a keynote address by John Ralston Saul, Canadian author, essayist and president of PEN International. Saul spoke of the need for architects and engineers to work for the improvement of First Nations communities in Canada.
“While there are wonderful aboriginal architects and wonderful buildings within aboriginal communities, in general, the architectural and engineering communities have abandoned the indigenous communities,” said Saul. “They have been treated, at best, as mining camp sites.
“One of the most important things the architectural community should be doing today is turning its mind to this abandonment of one of the three standing pillars of the country,” he said.
During the investiture, Oboh held the RAIC Lamp of Architecture and recited the seven major principles as defined by John Ruskin’s 1849 essay “The Seven Lamps of Architecture”: sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience.
“Through the work we do, architects demonstrate a lifelong dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life in our communities,” said Oboh in his investiture address. “This is a day to celebrate architecture and the values that bind us together in promoting excellence in the built environment. It is a time to reflect and share our collective experiences to foster inclusiveness and social equity through the work that we do.”
He received the President’s Medal from the 2014 President Wayne De Angelis, FRAIC, of Vancouver.
During his tenure, De Angelis oversaw a renewed vision and mission for the RAIC, which focuses on advocacy and socially responsible architecture. In his speech, he described socially responsible architecture as “an approach to design that values justice, equality, participation, sharing, sustainability, and engages social issues.”
Samuel Óghale Oboh, FRAIC, was born March 27, 1971 in Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the Bendel/Edo State University (now Ambrose Alli University) and a Master of Science degree in Architecture from the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He also graduated from the University of Alberta with a Master of Arts where he was a recipient of the Herbert Marshall McLuhan Graduate Student Award.
Oboh is a licensed architect in both Alberta and Texas, and has worked in the field of architecture for more than 20 years. As a design architect, he has worked on significant projects with various firms including O2 Architecture, Kasian, IBI Group, FMA Architects in Southern Africa and F&A Services (in collaboration with Seifert Architects in London, UK). Such projects include the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana, City of Red Deer Civic Yards, Villa Caritas health care facility in Edmonton, and the Alberta Legislature Centre Redevelopment Master Plan.
Oboh recently led the reorganization and establishment of a new Architecture and Engineering Centre of Expertise for Public Works Government Services Canada, where he currently works as regional manager.
Samuel Oboh joined the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 2001 as an International Associate based in Southern Africa. In 2003, he emigrated from Botswana to Canada and became actively involved with the RAIC.
In 2006, working with Past President Vivian Manasc, FRAIC, and Len Rodrigues, FRAIC, Oboh helped establish Canada’s first local RAIC chapter in Alberta where he later served as its President from 2007- 2008. During his tenure, he championed several initiatives that raised the awareness of the importance of architecture in Alberta – including an exhibition of Alberta architecture at the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, where he curated the exhibits in the Urban Alberta pavilion.
Oboh has served as an adjunct lecturer at the Durban University of Technology, and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He has also been a studio critic at the University of Calgary and Carleton University. A member of the American Institute of Architects, he was a Chartered Architect with the Royal Institute of British Architects (2000-2007) and is a Fellow of the RAIC.
An enthusiast of numismatics and philately, he lives in Edmonton with his wife Aisha and three children, Noora, Fego and Oreva.