Assoc. Prof. Paul Kariouk’s firm recognized by Architizer global awards

July 12, 2022

Associate Professor Paul Kariouk’s architecture office, Kariouk Architects, was named a finalist in the “Best Small Firm” category by the Architizer global awards program. 


Kariouk’s Ottawa-based firm was the only Canadian among five firms recognized for Best Small Firm (1-10 Employees.) The five offices on the shortlist were chosen from an international group of applicants.


The Architizer online platform’s A+ Awards team based the selection on a portfolio submission and statement of philosophy. 

Here is the statement from Kariouk Architects. 


(No) Aesthetic 


Kariouk Architects is driven by a curiosity to uncover the distinctive needs and nuances of our clients. 


The majority of our clients are middle-class, but their aspirations go beyond the pursuit of more and bigger. Our work with them is anchored upon self-reflection, life’s larger issues, and not simply value, but values. Together, we create a permanent home with soul in which they will grow old. 


While we work with our clients to build small, their home still represents their largest financial and perhaps emotional investment. Our clients understand that getting it right requires open dialogues not just about systems and finishes, but also about daily life as it is now, and how it may unfold in the decades ahead. 


None of this points to any direct aesthetic; every client is different in myriad and nuanced ways. The final choreography of our homes evolves slowly, iteration after iteration, from their ideas of what will bring them joy.  

Innovation Comes in Small Packages 


At Kariouk Architects our work is also entwined with shaping professional practice through university teaching, and as such, we are also ourselves being continuously educated. 


We are always among the first to interrogate new materials and processes. But we do so responsibly; what looks progressive can be arbitrary taste, and what truly serves progressive ends takes more care to find. 


Each project is unique, and even when the budget is tiny, there is always the opportunity to innovate in some humble way. This may be through an unlikely site strategy that reduces construction’s impact, or by finding the means for better material fabrication or construction scheduling that allows for reduced power consumption and emissions. 


And, of course, every project’s unique site is the opportunity to innovate simply with the play of space and light. 

About Paul Kariouk 

man with glasses, wearing a dark button up shirt

Paul Kariouk is an associate professor who teaches design studios at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as the undergraduate course, The Modern Designed Landscape, and the graduate course, Professional Practice. 


He received his professional degree from Columbia University and completed his undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Virginia. He has more than 25 years of experience in the profession and is licensed to practice architecture by the States of New York and Virginia, and the Province of Ontario. 


Between 1995 and 2002, he was co-principal with Mabel O. Wilson in their office, KW: a. Together they completed a series of residential commissions. Their installation, (a)way station: the Architectural Spaces of Migration, is on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from July 16, 2022, to May 21, 2023. 


Their work has been exhibited in numerous other museums and galleries including New York’s Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum.