Building Their Own Future: Studio North

Young Guns 12 winners show why architecture belongs in the ADC community

It’s finally here! Today is the final deadline for ADC Young Guns 13— the premiere global portfolio competition for creative professionals 30 years of age and under. No more extensions, no more late fee penalties, no more chances. Ir’s just you, your work and the potential for glory..

As we head towards the deadline, we have been featuring the works and thoughts of Young Guns 12, the latest class to join this exclusive club of young creative professionals. We’ve also been sharing the thoughts of the judges who voted them in. This way, you’ll have some idea of what it takes to become a Young Gun — and the answers just might surprise you.

If you’ve had your eyes on Young Guns in recent years, you’ll note that more and more winners have job descriptions that aren’t “art director” or “graphic designer”. Even then, “architect” is an extremely rare breed of Young Guns winner, and yet this Calgary based duo impressed the YG12 jury enough to honor them as perhaps the first true architects in the Young Guns community.


studio-north__largeSTUDIO NORTH

Calgary, AB, Canada



When did you first hear about Young Guns? 

We first heard about Young Guns from our friend Brian Jeffcock who was instrumental in helping us brand our studio two years ago. He went to a Young Guns exhibition, and he knows a few Young Guns himself.

What were your impressions of the competition before entering?

We thought that we might not fit in because it seemed to be a community of graphic designers and artists more so than architects, but we also thought that it was a community of talented, creative individuals that we’d like to be a part of regardless. So we entered, and we’re so glad that we did!

Did that leave you with any pangs of doubt before entering, thinking you maybe weren’t good enough to join all of the big names that have won before?

Yes we had our doubts, especially considering that we are architects and didn’t exactly fit the bill. But we thought that we as architects do drawings, models, and need to represent our design in a meaningful and artistic way in order to convince people to build our vision — which is not unlike the work that we saw of past Young Guns winners. So ultimately we decided we had to enter and see what happens!

How did you decide which pieces to submit? Was it a no-brainer or did you have to really think about your entry?

We had to think about what we entered. Since we’re pretty new on the scene we had limited work to choose from – especially published work. We were very selective in terms of which images to include… Architecture representation classically has ‘money shots’ — so we chose the angle that really took in and captured the whole project.

“…we also thought that it was a community of talented, creative individuals that we’d like to be a part of … so we entered, and we’re so glad that we did!”

Tell us what it was like when you found out you won.

For us, we didn’t really know what it really meant that we won. Prior to entering we didn’t know much about ADC and Young Guns, so we didn’t fully understand the implications of us winning. It wasn’t until we arrived in New York and attended the award ceremony that we realized what we had just won, and the value of being part of this community.

Which Young Guns winners do you admire most?

We really enjoy the work of Faust, who is a fellow winner from last year.

What have you been up to since winning? Has Young Guns opened up any new doors for you since winning last fall?

We’ve been slugging away at small architectural projects in Calgary, Alberta, which includes Laneway Housing – a small, compact housing typology that we’re leading the way in developing. Laneway houses are kind of like inner city cabins.

What would you tell someone who was deciding whether or not to enter Young Guns 13?

Do it. You will meet many inspiring, like minded, young individuals who are just starting their careers just like you, and are destined for greatness. You need to meet them and join them on the quest!


FrankAnselmoCircle“Studio North’s work is so much more than environmental design. The way they intelligently use any space small or large to achieve such a high level of both form & function is pure beauty. ”

Frank Anselmo


JoeJohnsonCircleStudio North’s work was immediately engaging and radiated purpose.  That two qualities combined with impeccable execution and ingenious use of setting, makes young guns for me.  I could look at Ross Creek Dining Hall all day long.

Joe Johnson


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