In Memoriam: Bruce Allan, 1947-2022

Bruce Allan, former architect and partner at ARCOP, passed away peacefully on October 29, 2022.

As an intern architect with ARCOP, Bruce Allan worked on the Man the Producer pavilion at Expo 67. From


Bruce Allan, former architect and partner at ARCOP, passed away peacefully on October 29, 2022.

Bruce grew up in Beloeil QC and moved to Montreal to attend McGill University where he began his studies in architecture in 1964.

During his second year, at the end of 1965, a professor suggested a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see the exhibition of the works of ARCOP (formerly  Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold & Sise).

When Bruce realized that most of the contemporary buildings in Montreal that left him mesmerized during his first year had been designed by this firm, he applied to the company for a summer job the following spring. As an young intern, he worked on projects including the McCord Museum and the final stages of the Man the Producer pavilion at Expo 67. 

“Expo gave me fertilizer for my future ideas—it was the starting point for many other things,” recalls Allan in a recording for the Centre des mémoires montréalaises. “There were so many kinds of architecture there, generously coloured pavilions, unusual geometries, material exploration […] all presented in an intensively concentrated place. It was like a catalog of ideas.”

With the evolution of the ARCOP partnership over the decades that followed, Bruce’s design sensitivities and talents were depended upon by all ARCOP partners. After the departure of the original founding partners and when Ray Affleck was struck by illness in the late 1980s, Bruce was named a partner and eventually a senior partner with design responsibilities. In 2014 Arcop joined forces with six architectural firms to form a single pan-Canadian entity rebranded as Architecture49, where Bruce continued until his retirement in May of 2019.

Bruce worked on numerous projects all around the world, primarily throughout Asia, the Middle East, and North America. He was the design partner the Lac-Leamy Casino Hotel, in Gatineau, QC., the Fairmont Tremblant, QC., the Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie and the Claude-Pratte Wing at the historic Chateau Frontenac in Vieux-Québec, among other notable projects in Ontario and Québec.

Hôtel Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, QC.
Source: 84_big.jpg (500×319) (

A built project that Bruce was most proud to have contributed to was the Nunavut Legislature, in Iqaluit. “In the context of reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations where there is a will (some, on the other hand, would call it a government-imposed obligation) to dialogue with First Nations representatives to integrate traditional First Nations cultural values into the design architectural projects,” says former ARCOP partner Edward Hercun. “The Nunavut Legislature benefitted from this sensitivity and respect of local cultural values approach long before the Canadian Government made it mandatory.”

“In 1997, Bruce as the design partner embraced the approach that this legislature building was to reflect the cultural and historical values of the people that the project was to serve,” continues Hercun. “This is a design philosophy that was embraced by all ARCOP partners and introduced into conceptual design discussion of all international projects as well.

Nunavut Legislative Assembly, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Source: Architecture49
Nunavut Legislative Assembly, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Source: Architecture49

“This sensitivity was embodied by Bruce and became one of ARCOP’s strengths. When a client from India, Pakistan or Sudan engaged ARCOP as a Western-based firm, there was often an expectation that they would receive an all-glass ‘western’ style architectural design. Bruce undertook research of local climate, local crafts and local cultural realities as well as the rich cultural and architectural heritage that predates ‘western’ culture by a few thousand years, from which he would seek inspirations to be interpreted into a contemporary architectural vocabulary and expression. Most, if not all, international clients were at first surprised, but upon further reflection these clients became appreciative and even proud of this fact,” says Hercun.

This collaborative approach, says Norm Glouberman, a former senior partner with ARCOP, was a major part of Bruce’s success. “The legislature building in Iqaluit is a favourite of many of us that worked on the project. It is an excellent example of a collaborative effort—to the extent that as the partner responsible for the project, it is difficult for me to say who was the lead architect. Bruce and Jean-Guy Cote worked together on all aspects of the design, each complimenting the other. Working out how best to plan and design the building to reflect the unique cultural and functional needs in a way that would be both welcoming and meaningful to the people of Iqaluit.”

“Bruce was very much a collaborator, working with others on the team,” adds Glouberman. “He appreciated designing with inputs from others, and also working with and mentoring the younger architects in the firm. His spirit of collaboration always extended to joint venture partners with other architectural firms, always working to create a spirit of synergy between the two.”

In Asia, Bruce collaborated with former ARCOP partner Ramesh Khosla and architect Anca Hanganu on designs in Quetta (Pakistan), Faisalabad (Pakistan), Kabul (Afghanistan) and Dushanbe (Tajikstan). “He was the gentlest person—very talented, very calm and very cooperative,” recalls Khosla. “It was a pleasure to see him relish international cuisine, particularly in India, where he went with me a dozen times.”

Faisalabad Serena Hotel, Faisalabad, Pakistan
source: FAISALABAD SERENA HOTEL $110 ($̶1̶4̶9̶) – Updated 2023 Prices & Reviews – Pakistan (

After retiring, Bruce remained involved with McGill as a member of the Faculty Advancement Board for Architecture & Engineering, as well as an advisor for Montréal’s NDG/Côte-des-Neiges borough’s Comité consultatif d’urbanisme. Bruce drew exquisitely, sketching exciting concepts in the pre-computer era, producing beautiful designs. He had a great love of food and his career travels allowed him ample opportunities to enjoy culinary delights of different and far away lands.  Bruce was also an avid cross-country skier, Formula-1 car racing aficionado, and had a great sense of humour.  Bruce is survived by his children, Torey and Andrea, his sisters, Judy (John) O’Neill and Mary Ruth (Ronald) Gehr, along with several nieces and nephews.