Canadian Architect

Feature

Emerging Talent: Architects Luc Bouliane

July 14, 2016
by Pamela Young

Stephen Addeo, Natasha Lebel, Luc Bouliane, Natasha Somborac, Wes Wilson, Laura Zarnke (Missing)

Stephen Addeo, Natasha Lebel, Luc Bouliane, Natasha Somborac, Wes Wilson, Laura Zarnke (Missing)

Geology, geography and business plans inform the work of Toronto-based Architects Luc Bouliane. Raised in ruggedly rocky Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Luc Bouliane, MRAIC, 38, cites natural forms such as geodes and drumlins as sources of inspiration. The business expertise comes from his personal and professional partner, Natasha Lebel, 44, who possesses a B.Arch. and an MBA.

The University of Waterloo grads founded their firm in 2010, after Bouliane had worked for a decade for Teeple Architects. A combination of spatial and fiscal savvy has enabled Architects Luc Bouliane to land some large projects, including the $7-million program-redefining renovation of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, in association with David J. Agro Architect and Michael Grunsky Architect. They’ve also obtained a commission to re-make a former broadcasting studio space (in Toronto’s CBC Building, designed by Philip Johnson) into the headquarters for ad agency Bensimon Byrne. And they’ve completed some not-your-basic-minimalist-box residential commissions.

Upgraded exhibition spaces and a new event hall provide enhanced functionality for the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, completed with David J. Agro and Michael Grunsky. Photo by Steven Evans

Upgraded exhibition spaces and a new event hall provide enhanced functionality for the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, completed with David J. Agro and Michael Grunsky. Photo by Steven Evans

The semi-detached Relmar Houses in Toronto are what Bouliane describes as his “geode” project. The clients wanted a home for themselves and a resale dwelling, on a single-family lot. “Our strategy was to create a solid, rock-like form—hard on the outside, but cracked open across the top and the middle to fill spaces with light,” Bouliane explains.

The five-person (and growing) firm will continue to pursue a mix of commercial, institutional and residential projects. “We try to balance it because it allows us to be flexible,” Bouliane says. “When markets of private money are high, we have the houses and ad agency work. When that goes down, public projects get funded and we’ll have institutional work.