Douglas Cardinal is a master who devoted his life to building structures that are compatible with the environment and nature. In each of his works, we see the curves, colors, textures, and materials of nature as a signature. Douglas’s philosophy consists of planning an ecological community and sustainable modern designs. He was awarded the title of “Master of World Contemporary Architecture” by the International Society of Architects.

Below is the list of 15 Projects by Douglas Cardinal Architects Inc.

1. Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Center

This space is the building designed by Douglas Cardinal in 2016 with the concept of sharing information. It consists of 3 separate sections. These are the Aboriginal Student Center, Local Student Council, Local Studies Department.

The circular entrance area that forms the foundation of the building represents an aggregation, equality, and knowledge. At the same time, this area forms the basis of space organization. It includes classrooms, social areas, and a meeting place for official ceremonies. This structure represents a remembrance. It represents remembering and sharing information.

Also, the building has Leed Gold standards.

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Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Center ©
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Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Center ©
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Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Center ©

2. Adelante Healthcare Goodyear Project

This design’s inspiration is the environment located in Arizona. It takes the desert folds and all the creatures in the desert as his inspiration. It’s not just the curves of stone, sand, and the like found in the desert. Desert creatures are also part of this concept. Flow forms represent the feminine nature of water.

The structure connects the natural environment and people. The form is designed in this way to show people the beauty of nature. Since it is a health center, it aims to get healing from harmony with nature.

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Adelante Healthcare Goodyear Project ©
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Adelante Healthcare Goodyear Project ©

3. National Museum of American Indian

It was designed as part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. It was completed in September 2004. This museum was established to remind the indigenous people of America, to keep them alive and to understand. It is located directly opposite IM Pei’s National Gallery and complements it. The cave-like entrance reminds us of ancient times. There is a gathering and ceremony area inside.

National Museum of American Indian
National Museum of American Indian ©

4. Museum of History

It was built in 1999 after Douglas Cardinal won the National Museum Competition organized by the then prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The theme of harmony with the city and nature has been observed. The building is divided into two parts. Curatorial vs. Exhibition Division.

In the curatorial wing, there are offices on the outer perimeter. In this way, offices get light and create a dark space inside. Private collections are preserved here. There is a very open plan in the exhibition section. There are permanent and large spaces for exhibitions.

It has advanced technology. It obtains water for heating from the Ottawa River next to it.

This building is the most visited in Canada.

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Museum of History ©
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Museum of History ©
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Museum of History ©

5. Meno-Ya Win Health Centre

Putting himself in the designer hands of Douglas Cardinal, the client wanted a place where he would combine modern medicine with traditional healing methods. Cardinal’s design offered him a health center distinguished even from the sky.

The building has a form that is spread over the ground, fragmented, and that is in harmony with the landscape formed in between. Having such a relationship with the ground makes it look more like a health village than a health center.

This health center receives an average of 30,000 visitors a year.

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Meno – Ya Win Health Centre ©
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Meno – Ya Win Health Centre ©

6. Aanischaaukamikq Cultural Institute

The Ouje-Bougouma townspeople decided to build a Cree country’s identity center in a location close to town and overlooking the town. They decided to make a design with Douglas Cardinal, who uses nature and the environment very well in their buildings.

In the form of the building, a curvature that starts near the ground and then rises, then descends again, is visible. This form, which appears to be oval and seated on a spine, is also a roof that feels like a dome.

This structure, which reflects the calm, warm and surrounding people, combines the use of wood with new technology.

Aanischaaukamikq Cultural Institute
Aanischaaukamikq Cultural Institute ©

7. Long Point First Nation

The Long Point First Nation settlement in Winneway. In the society where this project is carried out, the concept of respect lies at the heart of society. Everything exists for a purpose and deserves respect. In this community, the circle represents this belief system. The beehive represents diligence, especially for the elderly of this community.

Douglas Cardinal Architects Inc. He acquired these basic principles as a design tool for himself. This community wanted to build a school from local materials, compatible with the natural environment. It had to be resistant to mildew due to climatic conditions.

The beehive idea appears in the general plan and space solutions of this project. Local materials meet with a smart and innovative design.

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Long Point First Nation ©
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Long Point First Nation ©

8. Cardinal Residence

Completed in 1982, this project was designed for Cardinal Family. It is designed in harmony with a natural landscape. The construction methods are simple but compatible with nature. The retaining wall against which the house leans has shaped it. This old building has proven to us that it is ahead of its time with its modern and organic stance.

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Cardinal Residence ©

9. Alberta Government Services Building

This structure was designed by Douglas Cardinal in 1976 as the government services building. The Cardinal wanted to break the hardness and coldness of government buildings in this structure. He used curves, his design language, for this. He wanted to leave a liveliness and greenery to the cold climate of the region. He designed a largely closed atrium inside this building. This atrium has a vibrant and green landscape. It creates a flow with the other official buildings around it and the urban texture.

Also, this structure was awarded the Alberta Province Achievement Award for Excellence, as it was efficient and brought to the community.

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Alberta Government Services Building ©
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Alberta Government Services Building ©

10. Grand Prairie Regional College

The Grand Prairie College Board wanted to design a community college and they turned to Douglas Cardinal Architects because he was not bound by rigid molds in his designs. The College Board argued that education from different angles should be together. They wanted to bring together science, art, and trade sciences under the same roof. Inspired by this, they decided to build a school.

This structure includes a theater hall and library as well as different types of education spaces. It is also a structure open to the whole community.

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Grand Prairie Regional College ©
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Grand Prairie Regional College ©

11. Edmonton Space Science Centre

Designed by Douglas Cardinal Architects in 1983, this building is way beyond its period. The structure has a choice of form and material to refer to space. 

Unlike many of Cardinal’s structures, we do not see earth tones and curvilinear curves inspired by nature, but it still contains traces of his signature. The structure itself has a bright and clean white facade as if going into space.

The curves, which he always inspired, this time appear as folds formed by the combination of geometric shapes. This is an indication of how much the architect takes the program into account.

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Edmonton Space Science Centre ©
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Edmonton Space Science Centre ©

12. Fairview Elementary School 

It was designed for 191 children in 1975 in Red Deer, Alberta. It consists of classrooms and administrative spaces positioned around a central courtyard. The classrooms are designed with no windows on the walls for air conditioning and to create more panel space. It is ensured to benefit from sunlight with roof windows of every space.

Fairview Elementary School 
Fairview Elementary School ©

13. First Nations Memorial

In 1813, Laura Secord met members of the Mohawk Nation at this place, DeCew House, after a 32 km march from the American side of the border to warn Canada against an invasion. This is a monument to honor brave marches and heroism.

The circle represents aggregation. The welcome and gathering that takes place at this meeting point contain a spirit. Douglas Cardinal Architects reflected this spirit in his work. The luminous globe in the middle represents the fire that is lit. The lights of the sphere can be changed with the mobile phone connection. It is a dynamic sculpture with sphere light. This design allows people to participate.

Also, the circular surfaces of the monument have sitting ones.

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First Nations Memorial ©
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First Nations Memorial ©
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First Nations Memorial ©

14. St. Mary’s

In 1963, the Catholic Church went through a modernization. Father Merx hired Architect Douglas Cardinal so they designed a church around the new liturgy.

This church is like a monument with its soul. Natural light was used as an indicator of god in the design. The circular rows around the light falling on the podium are a completely original design story. It has an amorphous ceiling made with a technique well beyond its time, and thanks to this ceiling, there is no need for a microphone. Acoustics are perfect. This structure gave Douglas Cardinal a great reputation both technically and in design.

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St. Mary’s ©

15. Grand Traverse Civic Centre

The Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians wanted a Civic Centre for their community. The idea was to create a center that would reflect their culture and it served the elders and the youth.

The concept is a circular and central gathering space. Being designed as a multi-purpose area for performing, sports, meeting area, and any other events. The structure has an easy setup structure but it’s efficient. The material for the building being a geodesic structure and the community itself was able to put the structure together. 

The building was completed in 2001 and credited with an award for “Best Building of Its Size” in Michigan and the USA.

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Grand Traverse Civic Centre ©
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Grand Traverse Civic Centre ©

Merve has been an observer and storyteller since she knew herself. She tells, draws, takes photographs and uses all the means at her disposal to share her observations. Architecture is her method of seeing people, nature and art together. That's why it has become her passion from a young age. She wants to interpret humanity problems related to architecture from her own point of view, to produce solutions and to bring a new perspective to humanity.

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