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Architect Bruce Kuwabara explains how ‘you discover the project by drawing it’

Distinguished Canadian architect Bruce Kuwabara talks about the importance of sketching and doodling ‘with intent’ as he develops his ideas

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“I sketch on tracing paper. It’s easy. It’s very spontaneous,” says architect Bruce Kuwabara. “We have rolls of this paper all over our office. Sometimes you’re sitting there gnawing away at the problem and the sketch allows you to create different iterations or ideations of a strategy. It’s problem-solving, but having this kind of interplay between rationality and intuition. Sometimes I’ll doodle, but it has to be with intent. You discover the project by drawing it and literally creating your own image of what you think it might be like. And then as you see it, you’re critical, you respond to it, or you see something you didn’t intend. You have to keep your eyes open. Sometimes the accidental becomes primary.”

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Bruce Kuwabara is one of Canada’s most distinguished architects. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada gold medal and last year he became an Officer of the Order of Canada. His body of work includes Canada’s National Ballet School, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the TIFF Bell Lightbox, among other notable projects. He is currently working on several buildings, including the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, for which he’s been inspired by everything from grain elevators to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

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