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Sault native now an award-winning Toronto architect (6 photos)

Luc Bouliane still visits family in Sault and cheers on the Greyhounds

Sault native Luc Bouliane, an architect, will receive the 2018 Young Architect Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) at the institute’s Festival of Architecture to be held May 30 to June 2 in St. John, N.B.

A graduate of the University of Waterloo’s architecture program, the married 39-year-old father of two children now lives in Toronto with his wife and professional partner, fellow architect Natasha Lebel.

“She’s an architect and has a business background, so she brings all that savvy to the business, which has been amazing,” Luc said, speaking to SooToday. 

“We live right downtown.”

The vehicular traffic in Toronto’s downtown, Luc said, can be heavy, “but our house is a 30 second walk to our office building.” 

Lebel and Bouliane was established in 2010 after Luc worked for Toronto’s Teeple Architects for 10 years.

His work recognized in Toronto and across the country, Luc hasn’t left the Sault behind by any means.

He still follows the Soo Greyhounds, enjoying the current OHL playoff action.

“I went to a Hounds game in Hamilton recently and I met my Dad and my brother to finally get to see a Hounds game together, and they lost. It was their first loss in over 20 games,” Luc chuckled.

Luc’s retired parents, along with his siblings, all now reside in southern Ontario.

“I do get back to the Sault every so often. All my aunts and uncles are there, and there’s a family cottage in Goulais, I have friends in Manitoulin and St. Joe’s Island, and we spent a week last summer in St. Joe’s. It was nice.”

In fact, Luc, a Sir James Dunn graduate, continues to apply his architectural talent to Sault and Algoma area projects.

He co-designed the F.H. Clergue French Immersion School with Sault architect David Ellis, along with another school in Hornepayne, and the two are also in the process of designing a cottage for a client near St. Joseph Island. 

Luc said the geography of the Sault and Algoma area, with which he is so familiar, especially Lake Superior’s rocky outcrops, have influenced his architectural work.

His buildings appear to be hard, angular, rock-like shells on the exterior, but bathed in natural light on the interior.

Luc gives two thumbs up to ‘adaptive reuse,’ giving old buildings new purpose (such as the conversion of a part of the former St. Marys Paper into The Machine Shop venue).

“I’ve seen photos of The Machine Shop and I think it’s a beautiful idea for Sault Ste. Marie,” Luc said, adding the Sault Ste. Marie  Public Library’s Centennial branch is his favourite Sault building.  

Lebel and Bouliane won the contract to do adaptive work at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax.

“That project turned out to be quite good, and we love going out there to see it once in a while. The clients were good to work with,” Luc said.

As for the RAIC award, Luc said “it’s great, it’s fantastic. It’s good for our business…we’ve had great clients. Natasha and I are very excited about the whole thing.”

Along with their 2015 expansion and renovation of the National Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax (with architect David J. Agro), their Toronto projects include the Bensimon Byrne ad agency in the CBC Building (2016) and renovations to the York University Student Centre (2012).

Lebel and Bouliane’s current projects include a new Clearview Public Library branch in Stayner, Ontario, and renovations to both New College at the University of Toronto, and the Toronto office headquarters for Sidewalk Labs.

Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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