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Aboriginal identity at the centre of 2013 Prix de Rome winning project

Brett MacIntyre  - Submitted photo
Brett MacIntyre
— image credit: Submitted photo

An architect who grew up in Fernie has received an award for his designs.

Brett MacIntyre was selected by a panel of experts to win the $34,000 Prix de Rome to fund his project, Lessons from Lappland: Exploring the Indigenous Architecture of the Sami. MacIntyre will study the approaches taken by different countries towards the fostering of aboriginal cultures through architecture. His research will take him to the Arctic region of Sapmi, home to the indigenous culture of the Sami. This area covers the northern regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. He plans to put together a public exhibition upon his return to Canada.

“I hope to expand my own understanding to help ensure that Canada does not lose its unique First Nations heritage,” said Brett MacIntyre. “I believe it would be very beneficial to explore indigenous cultures from around the world, and to see how these groups have sought to re-assert their unique cultural identities and work with non-indigenous people to further this goal.”

The 2013 winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners aims to uncover the stories that the built environment can tell about culture, as the two evolve together over time. Brett MacIntyre will bring his own aboriginal perspective to the research and is interested in applying what he learns to his future designs as an architect, working with Canada’s First Nations.

“Architecture offers a way to chronicle the evolution of a people and help keep its culture alive,” said Canada Council Director and CEO, Robert Sirman. “The creativity and dedication that Brett MacIntyre brings to this forward-thinking research topic, along with his commitment to making his findings accessible to the public, set a great example for new generations of creators.”

The $34,000 Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners is awarded to a recent graduate of one of Canada’s eleven accredited schools of architecture who demonstrates outstanding potential. The prize winner is given the opportunity to visit significant architectural sites abroad and to intern at an architecture firm of international stature.

MacIntyre will intern with the Halifax firm Richard Kroeker Design. The firm has worked extensively with the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia, most notably with the Pictou Landing Health Centre.

MacIntyre was born in Williams Lake, B.C. and grew up in Fernie. He graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History before obtaining his Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies and Masters in Architecture from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Brett's interest in aboriginal identity and its potential for modern architecture stems from his own heritage as a member of the Haida of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands.)

Growing up he was fascinated by the art and architecture found on the Islands, which influenced much of his architectural education.

In 2009 Brett received the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Post-Secondary Scholarship and the Dalhousie University Faculty of Architecture Thesis prize in 2012 for his graduate thesis Memory and Myth: Storytelling as a Design Tool for a Youth Camp in Haida Gwaii.

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