Architecture Counsel Inc. (ACi) is a full-service architectural practice founded in 2011 to provide clients with expertly crafted designs that address each client’s unique aspirations and needs. Committed to design excellence, innovation, exploration, we strive to find a creative design solution that responds sensitively and thoughtfully to each client’s unique history, values, programme, and context. While our initial focus was on higher education projects (45+), today our portfolio has expanded to include visionary new projects in affordable housing, health and wellness, hospitality, libraries, senior living, as well as independent and public schools.
Our scope of work is diverse, encompassing all facets of architectural practice: space programming, feasibility studies, master planning, interior design, adaptive re-use, renovations, retrofits, heritage restorations, and complex new buildings involving large, multi-disciplinary teams. Each project is afforded the same level of care, commitment, and creativity regardless of its size or scale.
Our studio deftly combines a diverse, multi-cultural team of talented young designers with the knowledge and skills of senior architects. Unified by an inquisitive spirit, unbridled creativity, and commitment to design excellence, ACi comprises licensed and intern architects, project managers, designers, technical and support staff. Eschewing conventional office hierarchies – where one voice prevails – our studio is structured to fuel imagination and innovation. All voices are heard, and all ideas are considered. Staff are encouraged to challenge accepted paradigms, ask questions, and through research and collaboration, solve problems with fitting design solutions. Most importantly, unlike larger firms, our office offers clients the sustained personal involvement of its principal in every project.
Our approach is one which is highly consultative: driven by the pursuit of design excellence, while respectful of clients’ schedule and budget. Defining the program is a powerful part of the process for us. We focus on gaining a fulsome understanding of the program before we undertake design. We aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions and challenge the status quo. Stakeholder interests are well-represented throughout the process. At no point do we power forward to design without achieving consensus on the decisions.
Ultimately, we design spaces that create a sense of belonging, continually encouraging positive interactions between people, colleagues, friends, and neighbours – and forge connections to the natural setting, community, or campus. The final project tells a story – elegantly weaving together the disparate technical aspects of the project (from building codes to resource coordination) with the loftier concepts, essential service delivery, the user experience, and the community spirit.
At ACi, we are passionate in our commitment to sustainability, believing that one of our core responsibilities is to be dedicated stewards and caretakers of our environment. Our approach to sustainability is perpetually evolving based on current research and our clients’ enthusiasm to test the latest sustainable strategies and technologies. Our holistic, integrated design approach integrates first principles of sustainability and environmental integrity into our designs from the earliest stages and embeds design and performance criteria established by the Canada Green Building Council (LEED®), Passive House Canada, the International WELL Building Institute, and the City of Toronto. Most recently, the Centre for Collaborative Education at Durham College received LEED® Gold certification, while Shawenjigewining Hall at Ontario Tech University targets LEED® Platinum Certification. We have embedded WELL principles in both Shawenjigewining Hall and HQ Toronto, and for our Toronto Community Housing projects, all assignments incorporate passive house principles.
End-to-end Architectural Services / Interior Design / Stakeholder Engagement / Functional Space Programming / Feasibility Studies / Master Planning / Conceptual Design / Heritage Reports