The RAIC announces the Honorary Fellow for 2022

Wanda Dalla Costa is a prominent Indigenous voice and practitioner in North American architecture.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada has awarded Wanda Dalla Costa, a prominent Indigenous voice and practitioner in North American architecture, the honorary fellowship for 2022.

Wanda Dalla Costa is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and was the first First Nation woman to become an architect in Canada. Her firm, Tawaw Architectural Collective, is based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the director and founder of Arizona State University’s Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program that brings together tribal community members, industry and multidisciplinary teams of university students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities.

Dalla Costa’s teaching and research is focused on Indigenous ways of knowing and being, co-design methodologies, sustainable design, and the resiliency of vernacular architectures. In 2019, she was recognized as a YBCA 100 honoree, an award which celebrates people, organizations, and movements shifting culture through ideas, art, and activism.  Dalla Costa was one of 18 Indigenous architects selected to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Biennale exhibition Unceded. She is one of a half-dozen architects featured in the full-length TVO documentary From Earth To Sky.

Dalla Costa is a trailblazer as the first Indigenous female voice within the academic discourse on architecture in North America. As Indigenous architect David Fortin writes, “Her research couples a sound understanding of Indigenous architectural precedents with an expertise in community engagement and benefit, which has been setting the standards for Indigenous academics and practitioners throughout the United States and Canada.”

“I am humbled to be named an Honorary Fellow of the RAIC,” says Dalla Costa. “As the first First Nations woman to become a registered architect in Canada, during this time of reconciliation, I accept this honor on behalf of all of my fellow Indigenous Canadians whose knowledge, generosity and perseverance continues to inspire my team and guide the work. I will continue to honor our communities across Canada, their history, aspirations, resiliency, and futurity.”

“The Officers of the RAIC College are thrilled to recognize the considerable achievements of Honorary Fellow Wanda Dalla Costa through her extensive contributions and advancement of excellence in Architecture,” says Susan Ruptash, FRAIC, Chancellor of the RAIC College.