Celebrating 10 years of exquisite residential architecture with Omar Gandhi
The Wallpaper* Architects Directory has turned 20. Conceived in 2000 as our index of emerging architectural talent, this annual listing of promising practices, has, over the years, spanned styles and continents; yet always championing the best and most exciting young studios and showcasing inspiring work with an emphasis on the residential realm. To mark the occasion, this summer, we’re looking back at some of our over-500 alumni, to catch up about life and work since their participation and exclusively launch some of their latest completions. 2014 Architects Directory alumnus, Canada-based Omar Gandhi celebrates ten years of practice with a monograph. Entitled Adaptation, the book explores the architect’s journey from the foundation of his studio to the present day through a number of exquisite residential designs.
Designs that appear at once humble and eye-catching, structures that make beautiful use of wood, buildings that create a dialogue with their (often rural) context; there are many ways to describe Omar Gandhi’s architecture. Over the years, the Canada based architect – with studios in both Toronto and Halifax – has excelled in championing an approach that is sensitive and site-specific. And with a body of work that spans over 15 completions (and some eight more currently ongoing), it is hard to believe that this dynamic studio is only ten years old.
‘It really doesn’t matter where the project, who it’s for or what the building program is – our approach is always the same,’ says Gandhi. ‘We learn about the place, the specifics of the context, both architecturally and culturally. We tell stories about a place through our work and have always described the work as being the weird kid in the family in relation to the context. It’s different and peculiar but still related. We have a lot of fun and get excited by little things.’
Gandhi set up his practice in 2010 and this years marks its tenth anniversary with the publication of a book – Adaptation – that looks back at the studio’s journey from its inception until today. Celebrating the occasion by sharing a selection of works, mostly private homes, a typology Gandhi is an expert in, the architect also took the opportunity to pause, evaluate and reflect on his practice, from its origins, through to its achievements and future.
The book includes some of the studio’s biggest hits, such as the Rabbit Snare Gorge house (featured in Wallpaper* 139 in 2016) and the 2015 Float House, although the offering spans almost the full decade. It also includes essays by friends and colleagues, as well as an engaging introduction by Gandhi himself that touches upon, in an sincere and unpretentious way, his family, his route into architecture and his professional experiences that brought him to the point of setting up Omar Gandhi Architect.
Gandhi’s studio was first featured in our magazine while still in its relative infancy – in the Wallpaper* Architects Directory 2014. Naturally, the practice has since evolved, although its core values remain the same and as strong as ever.
‘The Architects Directory 2014 was the beginning of a very fortunate run for us which really hasn’t slowed down,’ says Gandhi. ‘It opened up a variety of new opportunities which allowed us to open a second studio in Toronto. Although this meant opportunities for growth, we kept two very small teams and carefully decide which projects to take on. While also extensively lecturing and teaching we have also diversified into projects of varying scale and program.’ Here’s to the studio’s next decade and beyond. §